In September 2020, our Race Equality Taskforce launched a pilot of its reverse mentoring scheme. The Scheme aims to address the barriers to race equality at the Bar, by providing insight into people’s experiences of racism and working to foster anti-racism in the profession. To achieve its aims, the Scheme pairs Bar students, pupil barristers and junior barristers from Minority Ethnic Groups as mentors, with senior barristers from White backgrounds as mentees.

We understand that the Scheme, which is designed to encourage new and innovative ways to address the barriers to race equality at the Bar, is the profession’s first experience of reverse mentoring. When compared to traditional mentoring schemes, reverse mentoring is more likely to ensure mutual benefit to both the mentor and the mentee, and to pair people who might otherwise not come together. The Scheme reflects our belief that, to achieve race equality in our profession, the onus of change needs to be on the White majority and senior ranks of the profession.

The first pairing of the scheme was:

  • Elisha Lindsay, a Black female Bar student and race equality activist is mentoring Paul Stanley QC, a White ally[1] and member of the Taskforce.

Since then several more participants have sign up to the scheme including the following. (See below for more information about these people):

  • Rachel Bale, Future Pupil at 3PB/Legal Support Officer at Matrix Chambers is mentoring our Director General, Mark Neale.
  • Barrister Shazia Akhtar and Pupil Barrister Aaron Mayers are mentoring Chair of the Bar 2021 Derek Sweeting QC.
  • Student Emma Hughes is mentoring Bar Council Vice Chair 2021 Mark Fenhalls QC.
  • Agatha Rockson is mentoring Rebecca Trowler QC.
  • Zara Kayani is mentoring Chris Stone.
  • Alicia Dondo is mentoring Mischa Balen of Atkin Chambers.
  • Evelyn Palmer is mentoring Clive Matthews of One Pump Court. 
  • Creanna Dodson is mentoring Nicholas Nicol of One Pump Court. 
  • Student Hifzah Younis is mentoring Jamie Presland of One Pump Court. 
  • Jeneva Hutchinson is mentoring Lucy Garrett of Keating Chambers.
  • Victoria Mukungu is mentoring Christopher Boardman QC of Radcliffe Chambers.
  • Joseph Chivayo is mentoring Zoe O’Sullivan QC of Serle Court.
  • Rajni Virk is mentoring Rachel Vickers of Outer Temple.
  • Nanthiniy Jana Santhiran is mentoring Helen Gower of Old Square.
  • Ayanthi Palihawadana is mentoring Mark Chennells of Atkin Chambers.
  • Kawsar Zaman is mentoring Vicky Fox CEO of the Supreme Court

Elisha Lindsay

Bar Student

Elisha Lindsay is a Bar student and race equality activist.

Paul Stanley QC

Barrister, Essex Court Chambers

Paul Stanley was called to the Bar in 1993, and was appointed QC in 2010. He practices in commercial law, has been a pupil-supervisor and is equality and diversity officer at Essex Court Chambers. He is a bencher of the Middle Temple. He has a particular interest in education and training, and is a governor of the Inns of Court College of Advocacy and director of the South Eastern Circuit Advanced Advocacy course.

Shazia Akhtar

Barrister, Hardwicke Chambers

Shazia practises in public and administrative law – including education law, discrimination, community care and human rights. Her practice also includes commercial work such as contractual disputes, property disputes relating to academies, advising on pensions in the context of local government, judicially reviewing decisions of the Financial Conduct Authority and procurement matters, particularly in relation to public authorities. She has a diverse practice, acting for local authorities; public bodies; NGOs; commercial organisations and individuals. She has been consistently ranked as a leading junior by the Legal 500. Shazia is also a qualified mediator (ADR Group).

Derek Sweeting QC

Chair of the Bar, Bar Council/7BR

Derek Sweeting QC’s practice is focused on contentious civil litigation, and advisory work in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court as well as arbitration.

It includes cases relating to maximum severity personal injury and clinical negligence work, commercial contracts, product liability, insurance, construction, information technology, professional negligence and civil fraud. He is regularly instructed by the Attorney General; in recent years, in particular, in relation claims arising from the Iraq war.

He a Bencher of Middle Temple. He chaired the Legal Services Committee of the Bar Council, was Vice Chair of the Bar in 2020 and is Chair in 2021.

Mark Neale

Director General, Bar Standards Board

Mark Neale has had a long career of public service. From 2010, he led the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for nine years, transforming its capability in the wake of the financial crisis to protect consumers in the event of major failures, and putting many of its services online. Before the FSCS, Mark was a civil servant in both policy and delivery roles. This culminated in Director General roles in both The Home Office where he was responsible for counter-terrorism, organised crime and international work from 2002 to 2005, and in HM Treasury where he was the Managing Director for Budget, Tax and Welfare between 2005 and 2010. Mark has also worked as a civil servant on education, employment and welfare issues.

Declarations of interest:

The Lending Standards Board – Non Executive Director

Froebel Trust –  Chair

Rachel Bale

Legal Support Officer, Matrix Chambers

Rachel Bale currently works as a Legal Support Officer at Matrix Chambers and is a future Pupil Barrister at 3 Paper Buildings. As a mixed-race female, who attended a state school in North Yorkshire, Rachel understands the implicit barriers some students face when entering the Bar. She is dedicated to help achieve a more equal-playing field to encourage diversity within the profession to ensure prospective applicants can reach which ever goals they set for themselves. Anti-racism lies at the heart of this objective.
 
Rachel co-founded the Future Lawyers mentoring scheme at Matrix, which enables students from disadvantaged backgrounds to receive mentoring from established members at Matrix and provides key advocacy and networking skills. Her aim is to help build aspiring practitioner’s confidence as early as possible, in order to best equip them when entering a career at the Bar.

Emma Hughes

As a mature student, of dual heritage and a single mother the challenges facing diversity and equality within the legal profession are a stark reality. In my role as MTSA President in 2018, I organised and hosted the first Black History Month Qualifying session, which has now become an annual event.

I was fortunate enough to receive an Access to the Bar Award and a Jules Thorn Scholarship from Middle Temple which made a career at the Bar a tangible possibility.

I am honoured to be part of the Bridging the Bar Committee and create opportunities for those from underrepresented backgrounds like myself. I am dedicated to diversifying the profile of the Bar and serve as Middle Temple Young Barrister’s Association (MTYBA’s) Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and sit on the Bar Council Race Working Group. 

I currently work at Miles & Partners Solicitors in the Public Family Law department. Dealing primarily with care proceedings, featuring non-accidental injury, radicalisation, sexual abuse and a range of matters. I was touched to feature in the advertisement of the Centenary Exhibition of prominent female middle templars who commemorated 100 years of the Sexual Disqualification Act 1919, which made it legal for women to be barristers, judges and jury members.

Lucy Garett QC

Lucy is “a true star for her generation, who is without question headed for greatness.”  She is “an absolute standout construction silk who approaches her work with great vigour and tenacity,” “has brilliant knowledge of the law… a very attractive manner in court, and is fantastic with clients.”

Lucy was called to the Bar in 2001 and was made Queen’s Counsel in 2018. She has an impressive specialist practice in construction, engineering, energy and shipbuilding, with a particular focus on mega-projects involving complex factual, technical and contractual disputes.  Her practice includes claims for and against construction professionals in these sectors and project-related issues such as insurance, bonds and guarantees. Lucy also advises on and acts in adjudications, from referral stage to enforcement.

She is always in demand for her forceful advocacy, commercial approach and “stellar” intellectual ability, which has led to instructions in a series of high profile, high value disputes. She has extensive experience in the TCC and the Commercial Court in the UK, and in international arbitration including in civil code jurisdictions. She is familiar with international parties and tribunals.

Lucy particularly enjoys disputes involving complex technical issues and, she will admit, delay claims.  Her approach is friendly, practical and commercial.

Lucy won Chambers and Partners’ Construction Junior of the Year in 2013 and was nominated again in 2015.  She has been top ranked in Chambers & Partners, Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal in construction, energy, international arbitration and professional negligence for many years.

Lucy is the author of the Time and Termination chapters in the leading text in its field, Keating on Offshore Construction and Marine Engineering (2nd Edn, published September 2018), and is co-author of the new authoritative title ‘Litigation in the TCC’. In addition, she is co-editor of Keating on JCT Contracts and a contributor to Keating on Construction Contracts.

James Presland

Jamie is a specialist in: FamilyHousing & Community CarePublic Law

Civil Law and Inquests & Public Inquiries.

Experience

Jamie is an experienced member both of One Pump Court’s Family Group, and of our Housing and Community Care Team.

Education

BA (Hons) History UEA; Dip Law PCL

Professional Memberships

FLBA
ALBA
HLPA

Nicholas Nichol

Nicholas is a specialist in Housing & Community CarePublic LawCivil Law,Dispute Resolution and Direct Access.

Nicholas is an experienced barrister, tribunal judge, mediator and legal trainer. Full details can be found at www.nicholasnicol.uk.

“I see poverty, disadvantage, vulnerability, homelessness, disability, discrimination; suffered by children, single parents, families, the aged; and caused by ineffective government, incompetent local authorities, housing and care providers which have forgotten their mission, landlords who avoid their obligations, companies that rip you off. I don’t fight those problems because I have to. I became a lawyer because I want to. I am a barrister so that I can”.

Mischa Balen

Mischa specialises primarily in international commercial disputes with an emphasis on construction and engineering, infrastructure, energy and natural resources, shipbuilding and professional liability. Mischa has particular experience of international construction arbitration concerning projects in the Middle East and Asia, having spent time working in both Dubai and Seoul.

Recent experience includes acting (unled) on behalf of a member of a contractor consortium in a three-week ICC arbitration concerning the termination of a major rail project in Asia, with a value of over €300 million, and acting as junior counsel to Stephanie Barwise QC on the independent review commissioned by Persimmon Homes.

Mischa is ranked as a leading junior by Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. Recent recommendations include: “Tremendously hard-working, intelligent, very responsive and user-friendly. He punches above his weight – a star of the future I am sure”, “A standout junior and one to watch. His chief strength is the intellectual contribution he makes – in this he is superb, bolstering the client’s case. Mischa is adept at tackling tricky disputes and getting straight to the meat of the issue”“He is thoughtful and analytical” and “Extremely hardworking and bright”.

Read more.

Christopher Stone

Chris has a substantial tax, employment and public law practice and is instructed regularly in the High Court on commercial matters, in particular involving injunctions. 

His expertise is recognised by Chambers UK who rank Chris as a leading junior in the fields of Employment, Tax, and Private Client where they highlight, "An excellent advocate who is unflappable under pressure and always brilliantly prepared" and "He gets everything done to such a high standard, has great judgement, and is someone you can really trust on a difficult question." Chris is also ranked as a leading junior by Legal 500 in Employment, Corporate Tax, and Private Client Tax; "He has a good, succinct writing style and is very user-friendly from the client’s perspective since he is always efficient and responsive"

Before being called to the Bar, Chris was a strategy consultant for Accenture and the Mergers and Acquisitions Manager for News International. He brings a commercial and practical approach to legal issues that is highly valued by his clients.

Chris is on the Attorney General's B Panel of Civil Counsel to the Crown.

Chris is the Equality and Diversity Officer and Welfare Officer of Devereux Chambers.

Read more.

Clive Matthews

Clive is a specialist in Family Law. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1981, and in 1983 co-founded Farrell Matthews and Weir (which was incorporated as FMW Law Ltd in 2010 and has been part of GT Stewart Ltd since 2018).

He became a children panel solicitor in 1984 and was appointed a children panel interviewer and assessor in 2000. He has had higher rights of audience (all proceedings) since 1996 and has always done his own advocacy.

In his 38 years of practice, his advocacy specialism has been representing children in public law proceedings. He has represented children and parents at every level of court and has proved to be a fearless advocate for children. Clive will be accepting instructions from January 2020.

Zoe O'Sullivan QC

Zoe O’Sullivan QC is a robust and experienced advocate who thrives on the challenges of oral advocacy and cross-examination.   She is described in Chambers UK as “very easy to work with and very hands-on”, “very technically able” and “formidably bright”.  The Legal 500 says: “Zoe is - even by the standards of the commercial bar - highly intelligent and extremely diligent: she is seriously very hard-working. As a result she displays complete mastery of the documents and of the law. She is an extremely tough, but always fair and decent, opponent. A star silk for the future.”

Zoe’s commercial/Chancery practice spans a broad range including IT and outsourcing disputes, shareholder disputes/joint ventures, directors’ duties, banking and finance, civil fraud, oil and gas, and shipbuilding. She is highly experienced in jurisdiction issues and in key interim applications including freezing orders, anti-suit injunctions, and applications under section 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996.

Zoe is also ranked by the Legal 500 as a leading silk in international commercial arbitration.   She is regularly appointed as presiding, sole and co-arbitrator in claims proceeding under the LCIA, DIFC-LCIA, ICC and UNICTRAL rules.   She is on the List of Arbitrators of the HK IAC.

Read more.

Rachel Vickers

Rachel Vickers has over 20 years experience undertaking personal injury and clinical negligence cases. During this period she has been involved in cases covering nearly all areas of clinical specialism.

Rachel undertakes work in the Coroner’s court, CICA and has litigated a civil jury trial.

In recent years she has gained considerable expertise litigating high value birth injury, neurological and spinal injury claims. She is instructed on behalf of Claimants and by the NHS Resolution, MDU and MPS and is totally dedicated to achieving the best result for her clients in a wholly compassionate manner.

Read more.

Rebecca Trowler QC

Rebecca Trowler QC is a criminal practitioner with extensive experience in serious and complex criminal trials and appeals. She is a Recorder of the Crown Court, a Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal and a Bencher of Gray’s Inn. Rebecca is also joint head of the crime team at Doughty Street Chambers. Read more on her Chambers website.

Joseph Chivayo

Joseph Chivayo, father of 3 and husband. Passionate about seeing equality in all aspects of life. Currently working as a full time civil servant based in Derby and studying part time. Before studying Law , Joseph completed a Masters in Hospitality Management from the University of Birmingham then spent a few years working in his community in education, human rights and community activism. Started the Graduate Diploma in Law in 2018 after securing the Jules Thorn Middle Temple scholarship and Lord Blunkett Widening scholarship from the University of Law, Birmingham. Without that support a career at the Bar would have been more challenging. Currently in his final year of the Bar Professional Training Course. Joseph strongly believes the only way we can have true racial equality is when people who are not directly affected are as outraged as people who face and deal with racism every day. Outside work and study, Joseph enjoys rugby and eating. 

Aaron Mayers

Aaron Mayers is the Deputy Chairman at Bridging the Bar, and a pupil barrister at 3 Paper Buildings. Determined to further equality of opportunity at the Bar, Aaron joined the BTB team with the intention of creating positive, tangible change in the profession.

Aaron understands the journey of coming to the Bar from a non traditional background. He grew up in social housing, attended a state school and is in the first generation of his family to go to university.

With a First-Class law degree from the University of Westminster and having received several scholarships on his way to obtaining pupillage, he also understands the importance of making the most from adverse circumstances. He aspires to assist all aspiring barristers who share this mentality. Aaron often speaks at events and creates content for aspiring barristers.

Agatha Rockson

Agatha Rockson completed the BPTC in 2019 having worked and studied full time on the programme. Agatha is the first legal person in both her nuclear and extended family and embarked on a career at the Bar after several years in the Civil Service. Having experience in Human Resources,  Agatha decided to join the mentoring scheme so as to share her knowledge on diversity and race equality from a large organisation such as the UK Civil Service to members at the Bar. 

Agatha enjoys the mentoring sessions with her mentee because they share ideas together be it on legal or social issues.

Agatha enjoy practicing in the areas of Public, Employment, Immigration and International law and look forward to building a diverse practice in the above areas once fully qualified.

Creanna Dodson

Creanna is a mature student and mother to four children. She is an experienced social worker who set up her own organisation in 2016 which accommodates looked after children and prepares them for independent living by providing support and targeted interventions. Prior to qualifying as a social worker Creanna started her career as a probation officer in 2004 and has extensive experience of the criminal justice system. Creanna recognises the disadvantages that are faced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals as a result of intersectionality, and welcomes initiatives that address racial equality. Creanna received an Exhibition Award from the Inner Temple in 2020 and is currently studying the BVS full-time at City Law School.

Mark Fenhalls QC

Barrister and Vice Chair Bar Council

Mark Fenhalls QC’s practice is principally in crime, business crime and regulatory compliance.   

Mark was Chair of the Criminal Bar Association (2015/16) and Leader of the South Eastern Circuit (2019-2020).  He is a Bencher of Gray’s Inn.

He is Vice Chair of The Kalisher Trust https://www.thekalishertrust.org/

Victoria Mukungu

Victoria Mukungu is an aspiring barrister, a current BPTC - LLM student. She manages the Middle Temple Students’ Association, which is a democratically elected student committee which launches initiatives and puts on a range of events and activities that raise awareness, educate, support, and encourages students and the community throughout the year.

She has 10 years+ experience in financial technology - the full company growth cycle. She has a wealth of experience in project management and customer operations. Plus, a proven track record in relationship building, having managed third party relationships in many of her roles.

She finds history and politics interesting as it provides a greater appreciation of the impact laws have. She has also recently started learning French, German, and Chinese.

Vicky Fox

Chief Executive, The Supreme Court

Vicky joined the court as Chief Executive of The Supreme Court and the JCPC in September 2020.

The role involves responsibility for all the non-judicial functions of the Court and overseeing the administration of a team of approximately 50 staff and contractors supporting the work of the Justices. The Chief Executive is an Accounting Officer in their own right.

Vicky was previously the Director of Regulation and Insight at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. She was called to the Bar in 1995 and has 15 years' experience as a Government lawyer, including work at the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health. She was Head of Guidance, Party and Election Finance at the Electoral Commission before moving to work at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority as Director of MP Support Services and then in 2018 as Director of Regulation and Insight.

Vicky is passionate about equality and fairness.  In 2019, she made the Timewise Power 50 List.  She has held a number of voluntary and trustee roles including as a governor at a London comprehensive school, a lay member of the NHS Blood and Transplant National Retrieval Group, charity trustee and mentoring roles.

Kawsar Zaman

Barrister

Kawsar Zaman is a Barrister and Mediator specialising in Public, Regulatory and Employment Law. Before coming to the Bar, Kawsar was a solicitor at Magic Circle law firms Clifford Chance LLP and Allen & Overy LLP, where he specialised in Financial Services Regulatory Law. As the first in his family to go to university, he graduated with a First-Class law degree from the LSE in 2012, before reading for the BCL at Oxford as an OCIS Scholar, and then the LLM at Harvard Law School where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He has taught law and lectured at Queen Mary University and the LSE, and is a Visiting Lecturer in Law at the University of Law.

Over the past decade, Kawsar has led campaigns on issues ranging from social mobility in education to promoting diversity in the workplace. He is currently a secondary school governor at a comprehensive in London, a trustee of Toynbee Hall, and an Associate Member of the UK’s National Muslim War Memorial Trust. In 2020, Kawsar founded ‘Take the COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign’ to encourage uptake of the vaccine amongst minority communities, which was profiled widely and commended in Parliament. He has been voted the ‘People’s Choice’ for the British Bangladeshi Power & Inspiration 100 List, and in 2009, Kawsar was a Global Fellow of the Prime Minister.


Speaking about her involvement as the Scheme’s first mentor, Elisha Lindsay said 'Initiating a programme that brings together the concept of diversity in a tangible and practical way is something I never thought would be achievable. Seeing how receptive members of the Bar are to hearing and learning about anti-racist practices and achieving true diversity within the Bar gives me hope for a more inclusive environment.”

As the Scheme’s first mentee, Paul said “It is a privilege to be able to be involved in this ground-breaking initiative. Being mentored by Elisha gives me a golden opportunity to learn from her experience and insight, and to challenge my own preconceptions and prejudices. I know it will make me a better antiracist ally, and help me to change myself and the profession for the better.”

We recognise that the Scheme will involve difficult and potentially uncomfortable conversations between participants. The pilot of the Scheme is being monitored by the Taskforce and our Equality and Access to Justice Team, and measures are in place to monitor and safeguard the wellbeing of its participants, particularly mentors.

To apply to take part in the Scheme, please submit an application form, which can be accessed here, to equality@barstandardsboard.org.uk. The form can be provided in alternative formats. Full Terms of Reference for the Scheme can be accessed online.


[1] A White person with a commitment to non-complacency, who takes proactive steps to confront and dismantle racism and race inequality.