LL Guest Feature: “I am the Bar”

June 16, 2020

2 min read

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What's going on here?

The Bar Council’s award-winning social mobility campaign, “I am the Bar” is going into its third round.

What does this mean?

“I am the Bar”, launched by the Bar Council in 2018, is designed to profile the experiences of those who have succeeded at the Bar from “non-traditional” backgrounds. Though multiple factors contribute to a lack of diversity within the Bar, social mobility is a key issue and the campaign focuses on raising awareness of social mobility. It does this largely through profiling those who have overcome adversity to succeed at the Bar, seeking to dispel myths and preconceptions around the profession and support fair access to the Bar. It also promotes and encourages efforts by others across the profession to improve access.

The campaign was officially launched on Twitter through a series of stories from the campaign’s Social Mobility Advocates (SMAs), which were published along with the hashtag #IAmTheBar. As a result, barristers began sharing their stories of their unconventional journeys to the Bar, inspiring current and prospective students with insights into the various paths within the profession. These inspiring stories include those of refugees, those who have lived in extreme poverty, and those who have been told that “black boys from the ends don’t make barristers”. They overcame the odds and have built careers at the Bar. You can see these stories by searching the hashtag #IAmTheBar on Twitter.

The “I am the Bar” campaign won the 2019 LexisNexis Legal Award in the Legal PR/Media Comms category for its progress in raising awareness of the importance of social mobility at the Bar. On the Bar Council’s website, you can find out more about its spin-off series “I am the Bench”, which helped to dispel myths about the role of judges, as well as emphasize the importance of encouraging individuals of all backgrounds to deliver justice.

How can I get involved?

Since the campaign’s launch, more SMAs have been recruited, bringing the current group to 21. The Bar Council is now searching for more to join. SMAs represent the campaign and share their experiences publicly and widely, spreading awareness of social mobility schemes run by both the Bar Council and others. They take part in press and social media opportunities and are involved in direct outreach to aspiring barristers, sitting on panels and taking part in mentoring and Q&As.

If you are a barrister from an under-represented background and have a story to share, please get in touch on the below email address by 18 June. Students that are interested in hearing from current SMAs should also get in touch. To find out more about the campaign, visit the Bar Council website or send an email to Campaigns@BarCouncil.org.uk.

Report written by The Bar Council

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