Members of Dere Street Barristers have been using lockdown to mentor the next generation of barristers. Using a combination of social media and email they are helping aspiring barristers develop their careers skills including interview technique and making applications.
The lockdown mentoring programme was started by Dere Street barrister Jamie Johnston. He has used the unexpected free time created by Covid-19 to offer advice to students and school-age children with an interest in law through LinkedIn. Jamie explained:
“I wanted to use some of the lockdown period to help university and A-level students who were missing out on careers advice and mini-pupillages. In the first weeks of lockdown I helped dozens of people with their CV and did a variety of Q&A threads. I then decided to offer mentoring and was inundated with replies. I asked other members of chambers if they would help and several have volunteered their time. I am immensely grateful that Tom Finch, David Lamb, Sarah Holmes-Willis, Jennie Smith, Seth Kitson and Eleanor Irons have all volunteered so that we can help as many people as possible.”
The mentoring is targeted at students who went to state schools as this demographic is under-represented at the Bar. This ties in with the Dere Street Barristers assessed mini-pupillage scheme which also aims to address inequality at the Bar.