White students twice as likely to get pupillage, report reveals

White students are twice as likely to get pupillage than their ethnic minority counterparts, according to research from the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

The study Exploring differential attainment at BPTC and Pupillage, which looked at data from BPTC students between 2011-2016, found that among graduates with a 2:1 degree, nearly 40% of white students secured a pupillage, more than double the 18% of ethnic minority students.

For those with a first-class degree, the disparity was less, with almost 60% of white students getting pupillage, compared with 42% of those from an ethnic minority background.

BSB Director General, Vanessa Davies, said the report, published in November 2017, should be seen as a ‘starting point’ for further work and that it was important ‘not to jump to any conclusions’ about the reasons for the difference in attainment.

She said: ‘We know that the Bar is trying very hard to encourage equal opportunity and accessibility for anyone with the talent and desire to become a barrister,’ but said that more research was needed to understand why the differences in attainment in relation to ethnicity and socioeconomic background persist.

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