Equality and Diversity
TECBAR is committed to supporting the creation of a more inclusive and diverse Bar and supports a series of initiatives in this field.
We understand that for prospective applicants to the Bar, the world of commercial disputes can seem daunting and unfamiliar, but TECBAR is undertaking efforts to provide greater insight into the career opportunities available to people from any background or life experience.
The TECBAR Committee is also dedicated to supporting its members to achieve their own career goals as well as improving the Bar as a whole.
We regularly host outreach events which deal with a range of topics as part of our commitment to issues of equality and diversity. These include previous panel events such as:
- Maternity, paternity and adoption leave for practising members of the Bar
- Women’s networking events
- LGBTQ networking drinks, in association with COMBAR, the Bar Lesbian and Gay Group (BLAGG) and FreeBar
Please keep an eye on our Upcoming Events section for details of future events.
Below are some of the ongoing initiatives that TECBAR supports, together with useful links and information for further reference.
The Black Inclusion Group
TECBAR is one of the founding organisations of the Black Inclusion Group (“BIG”), which was set up to explore the representation and experience of “Black” (i.e. of African, Caribbean or mixed African/Caribbean heritage) barristers in the specialist commercial bar. The BIG Committee gathered extensive evidence: data from the Bar Council and Government; a bespoke questionnaire; and round-table discussions with Black barristers at or aspiring to the Specialist Commercial Bar, at all levels of practice from prospective pupils to senior silks. Following receipt of the above data and the consultation, the Black Inclusion Group issued its first report “The Specialist Commercial Bar &Black Inclusion – First Steps” for consideration by members and member sets. The Report can be accessed here.
We are implementing some of the recommendations of the BIG Committee and will keep members updated as to progress on that objective.
Bridging the Bar
This organisation is a charity, founded in July 2020, that aims to support aspiring barristers from a range of statistically underrepresented groups at the Bar. TECBAR member sets are actively involved in the Bridging the Bar scheme and provide mentoring to students. Bridging the Bar have also set up their own BTB Academy which provides multiple programmes and training opportunities over the course of a single academic year. To learn more about Bridging the Bar, you can access their website here: https://bridgingthebar.org/
10,000 Black Interns
This programme is a cross-industry opportunity for Black people to gain an insight into prospective careers in commercial and tech roles. TECBAR member sets provide opportunities each year to learn about work at the commercial Bar, including as a mini-pupil spending a week with a barrister in chambers. To learn more about the 10,000 Black Interns programme, you can access their website here: https://www.10000blackinterns.com/
TECBAR chambers resources
Several chambers who have TECBAR members also provide further resources, materials and organise events on a range of issues relating to equality and diversity. Further information about the work undertaken by individual sets of chambers can be accessed from the following links:
- Atkin Chambers’ page on Equality & Diversity
- Crown Office Chambers’ pages on Diversity Policy and Social Responsibility
- Gatehouse Chambers’ page on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
- Keating Chambers’ page on Diversity & Inclusion
- 3PB’s page on Equality & Diversity
- 39 Essex Chambers’ page on Social Responsibility
- 4 New Square’s page on Equality & Diversity
- 4 Pump Court’s page on Chambers’ Social Responsbility
Industry and Sector Pledges
As a specialist Bar association, we encourage our individual members to consider signing up to pledges to promote an inclusive and diverse community of practitioners in the field of construction and engineering disputes.
The following pledges are of particular relevance to practitioners in our field:
- Equal Representation in Arbitration, a pledge to increase, on an equal opportunity basis, the number of women appointed as arbitrators in order to achieve fair representation.
- Equal Representation for Expert Witnesses, a similar pledge which aims to increase the number of women appointed as experts in construction disputes, to be achieved through mentoring and other networking opportunities
- Equal representation in Adjudication, a further pledge regarding appointment of women as adjudicators
- Women in Law, a pledge with structured goals and targets to improve the number of women who progress to senior levels of the legal profession
Links and Resources
We have set out below some links to external resources that you may find helpful:
- The Bar Council have a dedicated hub for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
- The “Celebrating Diversity” series from Inner Temple with biographies of pioneers of a more diverse Bar: https://www.innertemple.org.uk/celebrating-diversity-at-the-bar/
- The “Becoming a Barrister” information page produced by Lincoln’s Inn: https://www.lincolnsinn.org.uk/becoming-a-barrister/
- BME Legal, an organisation providing support to prospective pupillage applicants: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bme-legal-uk/
- COMBAR Mentoring scheme, a scheme for mentoring run by the Commercial Bar Association.