Across New Square Chambers we’re committed to the recruitment and retention of barristers and staff from diverse backgrounds.
Our work in this area includes: our social mobility programme; fair pupillage selection processes (as well as support prior to application); mentoring for members’ career progression; and fair recruitment of members of chambers, supported by our members’ recruitment and equality, diversity and inclusion committees.
A cross-section of members of Chambers and staff are involved in our broad programme of EDI activities, playing an active role in this, supporting the Chambers-wide encouragement, recruitment and retention of barristers and staff from diverse backgrounds.
These activities include:
- Social mobility
- Social mobility mini-pupillage – Since starting the programme in 2020, we have welcomed 26 prospective pupillage candidates from socially diverse backgrounds to undertake assessed work experience. Candidates who perform well are guaranteed a first-round pupillage interview. You can find out more about this here.
- The Stephen Lawrence Day Essay Competition – Since 2021, we have run an annual essay competition in honour of Stephen Lawrence Day. This is open to 16-18 year olds at non-fee-paying schools. The top three entries receive prizes including work experience, mentoring and a legal book voucher.
- Pupillage recruitment seminar programme – Every year, prior to the opening of Pupillage Gateway, we offer at least one seminar targeted to prospective pupillage applicants. During this we attempt to dispel myths about the Bar, as well as offering advice on the pupillage application process. Attendance is actively encouraged from socially mobile, female, BAME and disabled prospective applicants.
- Blind review of pupillage and mini-pupillage applications – In order to eliminate confirmation bias, and similar, we review all applications for pupillage and mini-pupillage on an anonymous basis. We also review pupillage applications blind as to the institutions attended by candidates.
- Membership recruitment and career progression
Members’ recruitment committee – A formal recruitment committee has been established to ensure that approaches to, and recruitment of, tenants considers and proactively addresses a number of EDI matters. In particular, these include the gender imbalance in Chambers’ membership.
Silk, Judicial Appointments & AG Panel Mentoring Programme – We run a mentoring programme for members of Chambers intending to apply for silk, appointments to the AG’s Panel or the bench. Financial support is also offered.
Parental and Long-Term Leave Policy – Our revitalised policy allows for the provision of a generous financial and other support to anyone who requires leave as a result of parental responsibilities or long-term ill health. The clerks are also required to encourage instructing solicitors to return cases to those coming back to work from a period of leave.
Gender and race pay gap review – Each year, the Equality and Diversity Officers, together with the Senior Clerk, conduct an internal gender and race pay gap review for both members of Chambers and staff. The review is conducted on an anonymous basis, with findings fed back to the EDI Committee and the clerks’ room.