One thing which hasn’t changed since I first considered a career as a barrister is that, for somebody without any links to the legal profession, the Bar can seem an alienating place. Historically, as I observed in this book, barristers have been drawn from the narrowest social stratum, rendering the Bar woefully unrepresentative. These problems persist today.

Where there has been important change in recent years, however, is in the outreach work that is carried out by those in and with links to the legal profession, aimed at improving social mobility and making the Bar accessible to people from all backgrounds.

If you are intrigued by the idea of becoming a barrister, or of visiting that fate on somebody you know, below is a (non-exhaustive) list of charities, organisations, schemes and opportunities aimed at opening up the Bar to everybody, so that those standing up in court and representing people in legal proceedings better reflect the communities they serve.

It is a growing list. If you are part of or know of an organisation or scheme that is not listed below, which you would wish to be included, please let me know.


The Bar Council, the representative body for barristers in England and Wales, offers a number of schemes for school and college students, including:

  • The Bar Placement Scheme allows sixth-form students to spend three days shadowing a barrister and to receive advocacy training from the Inns of Court College of Advocacy.
  • The Bar E-Mentoring scheme is intended to support students from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a career at the Bar.
  • If you would like a barrister to give a talk at your school, college or university, the Bar Council has a database of barrister volunteers.

Details of these are here:

The Bar Council also pairs disabled pupils and early practitioners with disabled senior mentors.

The Inns of Court each has their own social mobility programmes and scholarship schemes, summarised below:

Gray’s Inn

Inner Temple


Lincoln’s Inn

Middle Temple

Mentoring and Networking

10000 Black Interns

AllAboutLaw Diversity

The Association of Disabled Lawyers

The Association of Women Barristers

Bar None (Western Circuit)

Big Voice London

The Black Barristers’ Network

The Black Lawyers Directory (Legal Gateway)

BME Legal

Bridging The Bar

Centre for Women’s Justice Mentoring Scheme for Aspiring Lawyers from Black, Asian and Minoritised Backgrounds

City Disabilities

The Chancery Bar Association

The Commercial Bar Association

The Criminal Bar Association

Disability’s Not A Bar (Podcast)

Guru Nanak Social Mobility Scholarship

InterLaw Diversity Forum

The Kalisher Trust

The Lemn Sissay Law Bursary

Next Step Foundation

Neurodiversity In Law

Non-Russell Group Lawyers (NRGL) linkedin.comNRG Lawyers | LinkedIn

Queer Lawyers of Tomorrow

Rare Foundations: Law

The Social Mobility Foundation

Society of Asian Lawyers

Sutton Trust (Pathways to Law)

Unity Diversity in Law

Urban Lawyers

Women In Criminal Law


There are many, many more organisations and initiatives not listed above. Many barristers’ chambers have their own social mobility initiatives, offering funded work experience/mini-pupillage placements, providing mentoring schemes and bursaries, and attending local schools to speak directly to students. A number of universities also have their own mentoring and financial assistance schemes.