Black History Month 2023

October 1, 2023

Exchange Chambers will be ‘Saluting our Sisters’ in October as we celebrate Black History Month 2023 and recognise the crucial role that black women have played in shaping history, inspiring change, and building communities.

Exchange Chambers supports the Bar Council in working to create a profession representative of all and for all. We are committed to addressing the barriers and assumptions that inhibit the progression of those from non-traditional backgrounds into and within the profession.

We are aware of the challenges facing young people wishing to pursue a career in law. As a Chambers we are committed to supporting fair access to the Bar and aim to encourage aspiring barristers from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Chambers is positively looking to improve and increase our Black, Asian and ethnically diverse representation. We are a Partner Chamber in the Pegasus Access and Support Scheme (PASS), a leading programme designed by the Inner Temple to support aspiring barristers from under-represented backgrounds who have not yet started the BPTC.

A member of Exchange sits on the Bar Council’s Female Retention Committee which focuses on ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion at the Bar with a particular emphasis on female barristers.

Our members also sit on the Equality, Diversity and Social Mobility Committee for the Northern Circuit.  As part of our ongoing commitment to inspire people from all backgrounds to pursue a career in the law, we run a mentoring scheme to support students across the North.  We piloted our mentoring scheme with L8 A Better Place, a community development project based in Toxteth, Liverpool.

Exchange supports the work of the Northern Circuit’s Race Working Group.  The group, set up in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, has previously noted that the circuit does not reflect the “rich diversity found in the region”; particularly in areas of practice such as commercial, chancery and private client work.  More positively, it found a “strong desire” on the part of members of the circuit to become involved in efforts to improve the situation, as well as willing partners from groups such as the Black Solicitors Network and several universities.

Regardless of the steady increases of black pupil barristers and silks, the real question is one of inclusion and belonging. It is imperative that with the quantitative increases of black men and women at the Bar, there needs to be cultural shifts to ensure that black barristers and those aspiring to enter the profession can proudly represent themselves without feeling out of place.

Further details on how Exchange Chambers is supporting Black History Month will follow over the course of October.