For a number of years we have been working to support and develop those who are starting out in our profession. Several members of Chambers currently teach at local colleges. Ian Miller is Deputy Head at the School of Law, University of Bradford. He also runs the ‘Justice Bradford’ scheme, whereby law students give advice to members of the public, on a pro bono basis. Niall Carlin, is currently on a sabbatical, teaching at Leeds University and Ben Smith is at BPP. Other members of Chambers mentor students from those institutions, with the aim of expanding access to the bar for students from less privileged backgrounds.
Each year we hold an advocacy competition, at Bradford Crown Court. This is an opportunity for bar students to present a legal argument, before the Honorary Recorder, who gives judgments and feedback.
In preparation for recruitment of pupils, all members of our panel have completed training in equality and diversity, and the panel is made up of as diverse a selection of members of Chambers as possible. Last year we had the assistance of Zira Hussain, Clare Walsh, Abdul Shakoor and Anne-Marie Hutton. We are always impressed by the range of talent and commitment, displayed by so many of the candidates. For those of us who qualified some years ago, and have moved up the board outside Chambers, in what feels like no time at all, it is often admirable to witness the amount of investment which students put into their chosen career. The process of obtaining a law degree, and then the vocational stage, is an expensive process. Many candidates have extensive work, family and voluntary commitments, beyond their studies.
In recent years we have been fortunate to be able to recruit pupils who have experience in other fields, before training to become a barrister. We find that Chambers benefit from that breadth of experience. Currently in their second six; Ned Sproston was previously a teacher, Chris Rowe worked as an advocate in the County Court. During the autumn we will welcome two new pupils. Lydia Pearce was previously a custody sergeant and magistrate, in Bradford. Harry Wiltshire is currently a professional athlete. He is to compete in the World Ironman Championships, in Hawaii, in October, before beginning pupillage. Both pupils will receive civil and criminal training, with Sharn Samra and Abby Langford.
CAMILLE MORLAND – Head of Pupillage Committee