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Top commercial chambers join forces to launch new social mobility mentoring scheme. ‘The Legal Cheek’ reports:

A group of 20 leading commercial chambers have joined forces to launch a new mentoring programme with the aim of encouraging students from under-represented groups to pursue careers as barristers.

To qualify for the scheme, applicants will have started university, but need not yet be studying law, and must fall into a group which is considered under-represented at the commercial bar.

The group behind the scheme, The Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR), gives examples as being applicants with a predominantly state school education, first generation applicants, applicants with disabilities, women, black applicants, and LGBTQ+ applicants. They emphasise that this list is non-exhaustive.

Places on the scheme will be allocated based on the student’s need and potential, with both given equal weight. Assessment criteria include intellectual ability, ability to write paper/speak persuasively, and evidence of a desire to pursue a career at the bar. Educational and social background will also be taken into consideration, as will extenuating circumstances.

Those who are successful in their application will be allocated an individual mentor who will be a member of one of the participating sets of chambers. Over the course of the scheme, the mentor and mentee will arrange a number of one-on-one mentoring meetings, with mentees also invited to attend a workshop on applications for pupillage and a social event with fellow mentees and members from participating chambers.

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