39 Essex Chambers is deeply committed to the implementation and promotion of equal opportunities. We have an Equality and Diversity Working Group that oversees our Equality Action Plan; we have four Equality and Diversity Officers (barristers) and a Diversity Data Officer (senior staff member). We are particularly proud of the number of female QCs we have and the diverse socio-economic background of our barristers.
Recent initiatives include:
- A comprehensive programme of support for barristers on parental leave. This programme commences prior to taking leave and continues until 12 months post return. It is for both fathers and mothers and includes loans and financial support.
- A wellbeing and mental health programme for barristers and staff. This includes training, external 24-hour support, mentoring and buddying, as well as the appointment of a Wellbeing Officer, a Mental Health First Aider and barrister ‘champions.
- Targeted training for all within Chambers, including equality and diversity, unconscious bias and leadership training.
Our current external partnerships include:
- Bridging the Bar – this is a flagship programme to increase the equality of access to opportunities in the legal profession across underrepresented groups. We are participating in the mini-pupillage scheme, providing candidates with experience of life in chambers and guidance on how they can enjoy a career at the Bar.
- The Sutton Trust – the Trust works to improve access to higher education and employment opportunities for high attaining students form lower income families. With the Trust, we are running a work experience placement programme for law students.
To view our diversity data survey results 2020, please click here.
We strive to be an equal opportunities employer and chambers and we are committed to being an anti-racist organisation. We want all our members, staff, pupils and mini-pupils to have the fullest opportunity to prosper and succeed in their chosen field, regardless of race or ethnicity.
We have had regard to the Bar Standards Board Anti-Racist Statement of November 2020:
- We are formulating our approach to a race equality audit that engages with both members and staff from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups.
- We monitor and analyse ethnicity data from the the recruitment process for all pupils, mini-pupils and staff members and we undertake work opportunities monitoring for members and pupils.
- We participate in a range of initiatives aimed at improving access to the Bar for those faced with substantial obstacles such as race. These include the Bridging the Bar’s flagship pupillage scheme, the Sutton Trust summer programme, and 10,000 Black Interns work experience programme.
- All our staff undertake equality, diversity and inclusion training, all those involved in recruitment undertake fair recruitment training, and we regularly offer equality, diversity and inclusion training to all our members. We are formulating a specific anti-racist training strategy for all barristers and staff.
This anti-racist statement has been reviewed by our Management Board and our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officers. The actions set out in this statement are incorporated into our annual Equality Action Plan.