The Bar Standards Board (BSB) Race Equality Taskforce is seeking volunteers for the second stage of its reverse mentoring scheme, which sees Bar students and pupil barristers from ethnic minority backgrounds mentor senior barristers from white backgrounds.
The first round of the scheme was launched in September 2020, when over 15 mentoring partnerships were established.
The scheme is designed to provide an insight into people’s experiences of racism by pairing individuals who might not otherwise come together to “address barriers to race equality and to foster a more inclusive culture at the Bar”.
It was developed by the BSB’s Race Equality Taskforce, a group of barristers from different ethnic groups, which advises the BSB on the development of strategy, policy and activity to improve race equality in the profession.
The second round of reverse mentoring is due to start in March 2022, and volunteers should apply by 28 January 2022.
A number of barristers who wish to be mentees have already expressed an interest in taking part in the next round, according to the BSB, who said it is therefore “especially keen” to receive applications from barristers or pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds who would be willing to act as mentors.
Those who took part in the initial phase, which has now concluded, were reportedly positive about their participation.
One mentor said: “We are discussing very personal things in a way we wouldn’t usually be able to. She [the barrister] is on her chambers’ Pupillage Committee. I tell her how I view different processes and how to encourage applicants from minority ethnic backgrounds to apply.
“Open discussions are very good. I believe I have made a close friend. Someone I can speak to about Law and racial awareness and we can both use our resources and time to raise awareness and make a positive impact.”