Improving the visibility of those with care experience at the Bar

14 June 2024

East Anglian Chambers is delighted to share this guest blog for the Bar Council from Lucy Barnes, who is CEO and Co-Founder of Lawyers Who Care CIC (LWC) the UK’s first legal mentoring organisation for care-experienced aspiring lawyers. She was called to the Bar in November 2021 and begins her pupillage this October at with us at East Anglian Chambers.

Care-experienced people are under-represented across the legal professions. I grew up in foster care between the ages of 13-16. At 16, I fell off the care cliff when I stopped receiving any local authority support. I know from personal experience that growing up in foster care poses many career barriers. We grow up being told to “be realistic” about aspiring for any career, let alone a career in law.

Given the statistics, it is easy to understand why: CIVITAS, the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, produced a report in 2023, ‘Breaking the care ceiling’, which revealed that only 14% of care-experienced young people attend university compared to 47% of all young people. Further, the Association for Young People’s Health reports that figures published by the Department for Education and the ONS show that in 2021 41% of care leavers aged 19-21 in England were NEET (not in education, employment or training) compared to 9.2% of the general population aged 18-21.

In this blog I hope to persuade you that inclusion within the legal profession must extend to care experience and that goes beyond ticking a box. We need a narrative shift. We are not a group to be looked down on or pitied. We are valuable. And our value will enrich the legal profession. Provided we are given a chance.

You can read the full post here.

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