State school students to hear the call of the Bar

THE Bar Council, BPP Law School and Aimhigher West Yorkshire have hosted an event in Leeds designed to encourage state school students from non-traditional backgrounds to consider a career at the Bar. Aimhigher West Yorkshire is part of the national programme which aims to increase participation in higher education among school leavers, particularly with regard to those from non-traditional backgrounds.


The event was hosted at BPP Law School’s campus in Leeds. The day’s programme included an explanation of what studying law at degree level is like as well as guidance on how to apply to University. Dr Laurence Etherington of York University talked students through a process which can seem intimidating and unfamiliar. Paul Lanfear of BPP Law School then explained routes into the legal profession for students who have not studied law at degree level – the Graduate Diploma in Law.

Barristers Shazma Zaman, Eleanor Furniss, Peter Hampton and Semaab Shaikh talked to the students about their experiences finding
work as a barrister. The students were split into smaller groups and discussed cases and the issues which they raised.

The day opened with an address from Tim Dutton QC, the Chairman of the Bar Council and concludeds with a question and answer session. The panel, which will be chaired by Paul Kirtley drew upon their experiences and work to encourage the students to consider the possibility of a rewarding career at the Bar. The careers day was co-ordinated by a Bar Council Working Group chaired by Robert Francis QC who said:

“The Bar Council is delighted to be hosting this careers day jointly with Aimhigher West Yorkshire and BPP Law School. It is part of our programme designed to encourage the brightest and the best from all types of background to consider a career at the Bar in line with the recommendations made by Lord Neuberger in his 2007 report. We think it will be really useful for students to be able to have a look
at the possibilities of a career in the profession before they head off to university. We hope that this will help counter any mistaken perceptions about access to the Bar.“

Maura Wilson, Director of Aimhigher West Yorkshire said: “Aimhigher gives confidence to young people to take what they love doing and build it into a career through Higher Education. It works by visiting universities, taking part in brilliant Summer Schools and getting to meet amazing people at the top of their game; this event is a great opportunity for young people to see what the work of the Bar involves and to find out what they need to do to become part of it.” Richard Holt, BVC Director of Programmes at BPP Law School said:
"The Bar has always held a certain mystique about it, but that has not always helped it to reach out to more young people from all backgrounds. The aim of this event is to dispel some of the myths about becoming a barrister and excite some of West Yorkshire’s brightest stars into wanting to pursue a career at the Bar. We are delighted to be associated with such an event."

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