The Bar Council has launched a maternity mentoring scheme to help barristers return to work after having children.

Barristers who are about to start a family will be paired up with a ‘more experienced parent who has been through the whole process and has returned to a flourishing career’ to get advice, guidance and information.

The scheme, which will be available to all parents and carers irrespective of gender, will initially be piloted for one year.

Bar Chairman, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, said: ‘The self-employed nature of much of our profession makes it harder to take time out and return to work after becoming a parent.

‘Equally, many employed barristers will look to their representative body, the Bar Council, for support. Parenthood should not mean an end to a flourishing career at the Bar.’

One anonymous barrister commented: ‘Women at the Bar need this support at a time when they are torn between their career and having a baby. They need to know that they are not alone, that they can maintain a career and a family if that is what they want and that the world will not end if a child develops chicken pox on the morning of an important hearing.’

She added: ‘I found the experience of having children cut me off from the Bar and returning after having a baby made me anxious and stressed.’

For more information about the programme, e-mail