Bar report: Ethnic minorities find it harder to secure pupillage

‘There is a need to tone down your blackness’ throughout interviews, one junior barrister instructed researchers

Pupillage candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds find it harder to secure a suggestion than their white friends, the Bar Council has warned.

The Race at the Bar report revealed final week notes that “candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds are less likely to obtain pupillage than candidates from white backgrounds, even when controlling for educational attainment”.

There are many Black, Asian and different ethnic minority pupils. Actually, it’s just about what you’d count on in contrast to every group’s share of the inhabitants, with mixed-race individuals doing significantly effectively.

Desk by way of The Bar Council

However of those that utilized for pupillage in 2019 and 2020, ethnic minorities fare worse. Round 10% of white candidates secured pupillage, in contrast to 4% of ethnic minority candidates.

If ethnic minorities had secured pupillage in the identical proportions as they utilized, 42% of pupils could be Black, Asian, blended or one other ethnicity.

Earlier analysis from the Bar Requirements Board discovered that white individuals have been extra possible to secure pupillage even when grades have been taken into consideration.

The most recent report canvasses some attainable causes for this, akin to cash and networks.

Some individuals who had been by the method additionally felt that they had to work to overcome expectations of how a barrister seems to be and presents themselves.

One instructed researchers: “I was very conscious of how I look during interviews. There is a need to tone down your blackness. I wear the straightest bob for interviews. I wish I could be bold enough to go to interviews in my afro or braids”.

The report says that “these sorts of concerns are based in the reality of notions around ‘neatness’ and ‘professionalism’ etc. that are only heightened at the bar. Judging a candidate negatively because of stereotypes about their hair etc. is capable of amounting to race and/or gender discrimination”.

Past pupillage, ethnic minorities are effectively represented amongst junior barristers however under-represented amongst QCs, in accordance to the latest Bar Standards Board diversity statistics.

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