11 Sep 2022
I am delighted to introduce the first Annual Report for Bridging the Bar (‘BTB’) which sets out the charity’s key accomplishments over the past year and its key objectives moving forwards.
BTB was registered one year ago in the midst of a global pandemic and a national lockdown. Nonetheless, the entire team at BTB remained determined to ensure that these events would not halt the charity’s progression.
As one member of the team put it, “social intimacy is no longer a prerequisite to getting things done” and we kept this at the forefront of our minds as we sought to establish partnerships across the profession.
In the pre-pandemic world, securing partnerships with organisations and institutions across the country would have required numerous face-to-face meetings and extensive travel. However, we were able to achieve such partnerships without ever leaving our homes, by welcoming the transition from face-to-face meetings to video conferences hosted online.
In BTB’s first year, the charity has established considerable partnerships and working relationships with organisations and institutions across the profession. 67 barrister’s Chambers across the UK have signed up to support the BTB mini-pupillage programme, 19 organisations have become sponsorship partners, over 300 barristers and members of the judiciary have signed up as volunteers, and paid internship schemes have been launched in collaboration with both the UK Supreme Court and The Law Commission.
Yet, this only covers a portion of BTB’s achievements to date and does not offer any insight into BTB’s plans for the future. The remainder of this report will offer further insights as to how BTB is seeking to ensure that there are equal opportunities at the Bar for aspiring barristers.
Thank you to those that have supported us in our freshman year. To our founding sponsorship partners, our volunteers, our first salaried employee and every organisation that has collaborated with us, I thank you for your trust, time and commitment to providing equal opportunities in our profession. I dedicate a special thanks to the BTB executive committee who, despite being volunteers, have upheld the highest professional standards and shown the utmost dedication to providing new opportunities for our beneficiaries.
All of the programmes that BTB has piloted in our first year will continue into the upcoming academic year. We will learn from the experiences that we have gained and will aim to improve our delivery of these programmes. We will also expand our support for aspiring barristers by launching new programmes, including those targeting younger students who may still be in school or college.
A Bar that represents society also benefits society. That short sentence captures our vision. If you agree, then it is likely that you will also agree with the premise of our charity. We are working to create a Bar that benefits society by ensuring that the profession is open to individuals coming from all walks of life.