The scheme was founded in 2020 by six sets of Chambers, and expanded to ten sets in 2021. In the first two years of the scheme about 350 prospective applicants to the Bar were matched with mentors.
From 2022 onwards, the involvement of COMBAR will enable the scheme to be expanded to more participating sets, so that more mentees can be given access to practical information about becoming a barrister and what being a barrister involves.
Monckton Chambers is looking forward to participating in the next year of the scheme, which is an important part of COMBAR’s and Monckton’s commitment to improving access and diversity in the legal profession.
The scheme pairs successful eligible candidates with practitioners for a series of one-to-one mentoring sessions. COMBAR also hopes to organise a pupillage interview and application workshop and a social event, to which all mentors and mentees will be invited, in early 2023.
In order to ensure that as diverse a pool of potential applicants is reached as possible, COMBAR will advertise the scheme through the careers departments of all English and Welsh universities with a law department, together with a number of universities in Scotland and Ireland, third sector organisations such as the Social Mobility Foundation and Sutton Trust, and commercial publications such as Legal Cheek.
Applicants will be assessed by reference to their need for mentoring and their potential to pursue a career at the Bar. A deliberate decision has been taken to give equal weighting to both of these criteria to help ensure that the scheme reaches talented applicants from the most under-represented communities who would benefit most from mentoring and guidance.
Applicants wishing to participate in the scheme are requested to complete the online application form which can be found here. The original deadline for the applications (Friday 16 September) has been pushed back. Application forms must now be received by 4pm on Friday 7 October 2022. It is hoped that applicants will be informed as to whether or not they have been accepted onto the scheme in early November 2022.
Monckton warmly welcomes COMBAR’s involvement in the mentoring scheme. We are so pleased that the mentees who have participating in the first two years of the scheme have found it useful, and working with COMBAR will enable the scheme to go from strength to strength, matching more mentees with mentors.