BRIDGING BAR

'I know you were expecting a mini-pupillage, but check out this dope robe.'


An aspiring barrister allegedly stole almost £30,000 from a charity and then splashed the cash on luxury items including a Versace dressing gown and a sauna.

The unnamed lawyer was a committee member for Bridging the Bar, which enables students from non-traditional backgrounds to gain experience with barristers, and which has formed links with several sets to facilitate mentoring and mini-pupillages. 

The charity announced in a statement that during the summer it realised one of its committee members had transferred “significant funds” from Bridging the Bar’s bank account to their own personal account “without proper authorisation”. 

The charity said the money was returned promptly, and that the Committee member involved was “removed permanently from office”. 

“Systems have also been strengthened, including the requirement for multiple trustees to authorise any financial transaction, to ensure that no individual has access to or control of charitable funds”, it said, adding that the Charity Commission had been notified. RollOnFriday understands that the police have also been notified.

As part of the committee member’s noble quest to increase representation at the Bar for ethnic minorities and the less well off, they allegedly bought themselves a Versace dressing gown, magnums of champagne, Gucci shirts and a sauna, the Times reported, which at least adds up to a fantastic evening in, if not a convincing argument in mitigation.

Coincidentally, a committee member whose profile recently vanished from Bridging the Bar’s website has also deleted their Twitter account and removed any mention of their position at the charity from their LinkedIn profile. The individual did not respond to a request for comment. 

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Comments

Lord Lester 17 September 21 10:04

Silk beckons for this young chap or filly.

Can't see the BSB having any hesitation clearing them of all wrongdoing.

Caecilius 17 September 21 10:25

Their quest is not noble. The Bar is already one of, if not the, most meritocratic professions in the world. Especially the higher-paid areas of the Bar choose the best and brightest, regardless of where they come from or what they look like. In fact, the 'ethnic breakdown of pupil barristers' quoted on the Bridging the Bar website (and what a useless statistic that truly is for their agenda) lists 19% of pupils identifying as BAME. That is actually higher than the c. 14% that identify as BAME in the entire country. The Inns do - and have for a decent length of time - fostered talent regardless of whether they come from 'traditional' or 'non-traditional' backgrounds.

Anonymous 17 September 21 10:32

"The unnamed lawyer was a committee member for Bridging the Bar, which enables students from non-traditional backgrounds to gain experience with barristers..."

I can think of no background less traditional than becoming a lawyer despite the impediment of having no name.  Bravo sir or madam.

Grumio 17 September 21 13:47

Caecilius - 

“The Bar is already one of, if not the, most meritocratic professions in the world. Especially the higher-paid areas of the Bar choose the best and brightest, regardless of where they come from or what they look like. “

Yes.  Once you’re in.  But to get into top sets requires an Oxbridge degree in most cases and to get into Oxbridge has been predominantly public school types.   
 

 

Caecilius 17 September 21 14:51

Grumio - Of course, a degree from Oxford or Cambridge (the portmanteau is horrible) is a good selling point for someone looking for pupillage; are you suggesting we should change that the majority of good sets want people who have actually been taught to a decent standard and in a more rigorous, traditional way?

The reason why Oxford and Cambridge graduates are prevalent at the top sets has nothing to do with their public schooling (if any), but rather that they were the best candidates who, perhaps unsurprisingly, were also intelligent and good candidates when applying for those universities. In a meritocratic system, one would expect a higher proportion of highly skilled graduates in high-value, challenging roles than would appear in the general population.

In any event, the 'public school types' (whatever this even means) statement makes no sense. The majority of undergraduates (and that is what really matters to sets) at Oxford and Cambridge were educated in the state school system. In fact, top sets are likely to even be less concerned with ones pre-university schooling than sets in the tier below. Further, public schools have given untold opportunities to some of the brightest and most-disadvantaged students through the awarding of scholarships - would you put them into the 'public school types' category too?

Anonymous 17 September 21 15:23

"The only thing I'm guilty of is caring too much... And embezzlement. But mainly of caring too much." 

Quintus 17 September 21 17:05

@Caecilius

There is a lot of overt nepotism/elitism at the bar. There are several sets who only seem to hire the children of recently appointed judges. 

These kids are obviously intelligent, but lots of intelligent people try and fail to get Pupillage. It is difficult to see how a working class student (however intelligent) can compete with those from such privileged backgrounds. I think any organisation which attempts to correct this imbalance is worthwhile. 

 

 

Fantaman 17 September 21 19:52

@Quintus

'Correct this imbalance'

And when will it be 'corrected'?
Who determines when it is 'corrected'?
What metrics will be used to measure level of 'corrected'?
Do you propose a quota system of sorts?
A punitive marking system for those you deem 'privileged'?
Should the children of judges and barristers be forbidden from pursuing a career at the Bar?
Exactly who should the resources being offered to 'correct this imbalance' be taken away from?
Who exactly should they be given to?
You are not implying there are an infinite number of opportunities or inexhaustible amount of resource surely, so who exactly would you like to see kicked to the curb, disadvantaged, or otherwise prevented from pursuing a career at the Bar to make way for others so as to achieve this 'imbalance'?

Until the organisations that push this divisive, identity polticing trash into every nook and cranny of modern life can answer the above and be honest about their intent, then I will continue to see them, and those who support them as malicious power trippers and useful idiots. 

Anonymous 17 September 21 23:44

@Sumoking - yes, Lord Lester was completely cleared of all wrongdoing by the BSB.

nonny 19 September 21 10:19

Don't worry @Fantaman 17 September 21 19:52, there will still be plenty of rich, privately schooled, Oxbridge educated WASPs in the profession despite initiatives like Bridging the Bar.

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