The Supreme Court has launched a paid internship for aspiring lawyers from underrepresented communities at the Bar, in which eight participants will observe cases, shadow judicial assistants and discuss legal arguments with justices.
The five-day pilot, which is run in partnership with diversity charity Bridging the Bar (BTB), is the first ever work experience programme to be held by the UK’s highest court.
Over the course of the week, participants, who will be paid the London living wage, will each be assigned to a judicial assistant and will complete pre-hearing preparation and research tasks. They’ll also get the opportunity to attend pre-hearing discussions with judicial assistants and watch cases being heard, after which they’ll meet with their assigned justice to discuss the appeal.
On the final day of the scheme, participants will prepare a Q&A presentation to justices, judicial assistants and court staff about their experiences.
The programme, which is set to run this October or November, is open to anyone who has completed or has secured a place on the BPTC, and is a registered member of BTB. After an application process, candidates will be selected by diverse panels of QCs, junior barristers and judges from various practice areas, who will have undergone anti-bias training designed to tackle unconscious bias.
Alongside networking opportunities, it is hoped the scheme will facilitate reverse mentoring for senior members of the court.
Successful applicants will attend a pre-training workshops the weekend before the programme, led by 4PB’s Jo Delahunty QC and Garden Court’s Leslie Thomas QC, focusing on legal research, confidence and public speaking skills.
Commenting on the launch, Vicky Fox, CEO of The Supreme Court, said: “This programme aims to support the progression of underrepresented groups into the legal profession and ultimately into judicial roles.
“We look forward to learning from the interns and hearing about their experiences to date and we hope that they will be inspired by their experience and that it will help shape their long-term career goals. We welcome this opportunity for the UK Supreme Court to demonstrate its commitment to increasing diversity at every level of the legal profession and the judiciary.”