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Volunteering at the Inn

We understand that as busy practitioners and judges there will be many calls on your time, but we ask that you consider taking part in the Inn’s membership and education activities.

The Membership and Education Department arranges around 150 events each year and we could not run any of these without the involvement of Bencher and barrister members of the Inn. This could include attending our outreach events and chatting to students considering the Bar as a career, advocacy training, or providing marshalling opportunities to our students.  All the activities are rewarding and usually enjoyable.  Many of them also give you the opportunity to meet your peers practising in other areas, both geographically and legally.

Membership & Education Team

The work of the Membership and Education Department is roughly divided into Pre-Call, Post-Call Education, and Member Engagement.

  • The Pre-Call Team provide educational services to current and prospective students, including outreach, qualifying sessions and scholarships.
  • The Post-Call Education Team provide training for pupils, new practitioners and established practitioners, primarily in advocacy and ethics.
  • The Member Engagement Team provide various support, professional development, and social activities for members.

Below we have put together information on the events and activities for which we are always looking for helpers, with a primary contact for each. Please do get in touch if you are interested in helping or want any more information.

Advocacy Training

Become an Advocacy Tutor

The Inns of Court provide training for the compulsory pupils’ courses and the New Practitioners’ Programme. Based on the ethos of the importance of ‘the Bar teaching the Bar’, we train our members as Advocacy Tutors to teach on these courses, giving junior members of the Bar the opportunity to benefit from the experience and expertise provided by their peers. Many Advocacy Tutors remark upon the rewards, not just in terms of helping junior barristers, but in what they learn from it themselves. It is also a great opportunity to meet and socialise with your peers.

We train new volunteers annually so that we can expand the numbers of trainers in the faculty, increase diversity and maintain our high standards. The Inn organises a residential tutor training weekend once a year in July.

Who can help: Barristers of 4 years’ practice, Judges & Benchers

Time commitment: Weekends, tutors are usually expected to teach at least once a year

Contact: Jodie Mackay


Volunteer Witness – Advocacy Courses

We need members to act as realistic witnesses on the pupils’ advocacy course. Volunteering as a witness is a good opportunity to, not only practice your advocacy skills, but pick up tips on advocacy and network with both pupils and experienced practitioners.

Who can help: Members who have completed the Bar Course

Time commitment: Up to four weekends per year

Contact: Rory Shanley


Student Advocacy Workshops

The Inn organises a number of advocacy workshops in London and in the towns and cities around the country where the Bar Course is taught. These workshops are a fantastic opportunity for students to practise their advocacy and get feedback from barristers and judges. We need barristers and judges from all areas of practice.  The tutors for these workshops do not need to be trained advocacy tutors but guidance is given on conducting these sessions.

Who can help: Barristers, Judges, and Benchers

Time commitment: 1-4 evenings or Saturdays a year

Contact: Alice Thompson


Student Residential Weekends

The Inn organises three residential weekend events for current Bar Course Students each year which consist of advocacy and ethics workshops, talks from practising barristers and pupillage application reviews. As well as the educational elements they provide, they are also an invaluable opportunity for students to network with members of the Inn in an informal setting. Tutors will teach advocacy to small groups of students alongside one or two other barristers/Benchers. Most tutors will also be allocated a pupillage application for them to go through and review with the student. Experienced tutors may also be asked to lead an ethics or case analysis session and others may be asked to sit on a Q&A panel.

Who can help: Barristers (usually at least 2 years into practice), judges and Benchers

Time commitment: Each weekend starts on the Friday evening and ends Sunday lunchtime

Contact: Alice Thompson

Moderating and Facilitating

Ethics and Case Analysis Sessions

These sessions are provided to students, pupils and junior barristers and involve facilitating a discussion of the arguments and counter-arguments and bringing the group towards a solution.  It involves thinking on your feet and giving the group the confidence to contribute.  This is also a very rewarding way of passing on the Bar’s expertise and professional standards.

Who can help: Barristers, Judges, and Benchers

Time commitment: Held on weekday evenings for up to 3 hours or Saturdays

Contact: Jodie Mackay / Beilul Kahsai


Vulnerable Witness Training Facilitation

The Inn is taking part in the national programme to provide training in the handling of vulnerable witnesses to all criminal practitioners. These sessions are facilitated discussions on the preparation and presentation of questioning vulnerable witnesses.  We need experienced criminal barristers to run these sessions.  Facilitators must take part in a half day training course.

Who can help: Criminal barristers of eight years’ practice, Judges, and Benchers

Time commitment: A Saturday training session and then at least one Saturday teaching per year

Contact: Jodie Mackay


Mooting and Debating Clubs

Both clubs hold a number of meetings in each of the Michaelmas and Hilary terms. The clubs also take part in various internal and external competitions. Volunteers are always needed to judge and provide feedback at meetings and competitions.

Who can help: Barristers, Judges, and Benchers

Time commitment: Held on weekday evenings for around two hours, Competitions are held either on Saturdays or weekday evenings.

Contact: Alice Thompson

Mentoring

Student Mentoring Scheme

The scheme provides students with the opportunity to meet practising members of the Bar and wherever possible students are allocated a mentor who is practising in an area of interest to them. The mentor acts as a point of contact for the student and is someone who can give general advice and guidance and pupillage application advice for those who want it.

Please sign up to Become a Mentor using our web form.

Who can help: Barristers and Benchers

Time commitment: It is up to mentors and students how and when they meet

Contact: Rani Batra


Mentoring Scheme for Called Members

We are currently setting up a scheme for Called members to receive mentoring.  We routinely receive ad hoc requests from members for support and advice, usually on quite specific issues such as returning to the Bar from parental leave, switching practice areas, or moving from the employed Bar to the self-employed Bar.  The details of how the scheme will operate are still being worked out and it hasn’t yet been advertised but if you would be interested in acting as a mentor please let us know and we will send you more information once it is set up.

Who can help: Barristers & Benchers

Time commitment: It is up to mentors and mentees how and when they meet / correspond.

Contact: Clara Shepherd


Pupillage Foundation Scheme

This scheme assists those who are post-Bar Course in their search for pupillage. We run a programme of workshops and talks alongside a mentoring scheme that is run twice each year. We are always looking to recruit practitioners to act as mentors / participate in practice interview sessions and application form review.

Who can help: Barristers, judges and benchers

Time commitment: four to eight weekday evenings a year

Contact: Member Engagement Team


Student Pupillage Application Advice Evenings

We organise a number of these evenings each year. The evening offers students the opportunity to have their form reviewed, one-to-one, by a practising barrister. The evening is open to all members of the Inn who are seeking pupillage and volunteers with experience of the pupillage application process are always needed.

Who can help: Barristers, judges, and benchers

Time commitment: one to four weekday evenings a year

Contact: Alice Thompson


Pupillage Mock Interview Scheme

Our mock interview scheme provides support for students who have received a first and second round pupillage interview. We are always looking to recruit practitioners to participate in practice interview sessions. We would particularly like assistance from members who are involved in pupillage selection.

Who can help: Benchers and Barristers

Time commitment: Held on weekday evenings for up to 3 hours or Saturdays – Two-stage mock interview, two to four sessions of up to 2 hours held on a weekday or a Saturday.

Contact: Alice Thompson


Marshalling Scheme

Marshalling provides the student with a real insight into how cases are managed and decided. Feedback from students show that they find it to be of real benefit. There is a demand for places on the marshalling scheme from students all over the country and in a variety of legal fields. More judges are always needed to participate in this scheme.

Who can help: Judges (including those who sit as part-time judges)

Time commitment: Up to three days per marshal. Judges can decide how many marshals they are willing to take each year but one per term is the norm.

Contact: Mary Omolegan-Foster


European Visits

The Inn organises three visits to the European and international courts each year for groups of students and pupils, together with a couple of senior members of the Inn. These consist of one visit each to the European Court of Human Rights and Council of Europe in Strasbourg, the International Courts and Tribunals at The Hague, and the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Although places on these trips are limited, members of the bench and Bar are always welcome.

Who can help: Barristers, judges, and benchers

Time commitment: Each trip is three days long and are held during the week

Contact: Gemma Boreham

Outreach

University Information Afternoons and Dinners

Each year we invite students considering a career at the Bar to come to the Inn and hear a variety of talks given by practising barristers, followed by a Domus dinner in Hall. These events are a great opportunity to give prospective students an insight to life at the Bar. There are usually four or five events held on Wednesdays in February & March. We are always looking for speakers and also for members to dine with the students.

Who can help: Barristers, Judges, and Benchers

Time commitment: Talks – at least once per year from 4.30 pm; Dining – one to five per year from 6 pm to 8.30 pm

Contact: Beth Williams


Open Days

The Inn holds a number of Open Days for prospective BPTC and GDL students each year. The Open Days include a presentation on the Inn and a talk from a pupil, barrister or recent student about their experience of training and life at the Bar. The Open Days are held in October and February/March in advance of the scholarships deadlines.

Who can help: Pupils and Barristers

Time commitment: At least one weekday afternoon (from 3.30 pm) per year

Contact: Beth Williams


Regional Presentations

The Inn holds presentation evenings on ‘How to Finance and Succeed in a Career at the Bar’ at a number of universities each year. A panel of barristers, chaired by a Bencher, talk about applying for scholarships, studying on the BPTC, and their own experience of pupillage. Where possible we ask alumni of the relevant institution to speak but we also welcome volunteers. Local practitioners are always welcome to attend the reception after the presentation.

Who can help: Pupils, Barristers, Judges, and Benchers

Time commitment: At least one weekday evening (from 6.30 pm) per year

Contact: Beth Williams


Mini-Pupillages for Neuberger Prize Winners

Every year the Inn awards the Neuberger prize to a small group of academically outstanding law students from non-Russel group Universities.  As part of the prize each winner is paired with a Chambers for a mini-pupillage. Where possible students will be paired with a chambers close to the University they are studying at and specialising in an area of Law they are interested in. All students will be in the final year of their law degree when they undertake their mini-pupillage. We are looking for Chambers around the  country who would be interested in hosting a Neuberger prize winner for a three day mini-pupillage.

Who can help: Chambers

Time commitment: Three days a year at a time that suits both chambers and student.

Contact: Beth Williams

Lecture & Panel Events

Student lectures and panel events

As part of the qualifying sessions programme, we provide several lectures and panel events each term.  These fall into one of five themes: Ethics, Standards and Values; Advocacy Skills; Legal Knowledge, Justice and the Rule of Law; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion; Preparation for Pupillage, Career Development and Wellbeing.  If you are interested in giving a lecture, taking part in a panel, or have a suggestion for a topic we should cover please let us know.

Who can help: Barristers, Judges & Benchers

Time commitment: Usually 1 per year; lectures usually start at 6 pm and finish at 7-7.30 pm

Contact: Rani Batra


European Law and Human Rights Law Lectures

The Inn has a European Law Group which is responsible for our programme of European and Human Rights lectures.  If you would be interested in giving a lecture as part of this programme or joining the group please let us know.

Who can help: Barristers, Judges & Benchers

Time commitment: Variable

Contact: Gemma Boreham


Diversity & Inclusion Forums

The Inn’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee arranges a few Diversity & Inclusion Forums each year.  In 2019, the focus was on women because of the anniversary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act.  In 2020, our focus was on race at the Bar.  We now provide a mixture of subjects within the annual programme.  If you would be interested in taking part in a forum or have a suggestion for a topic that should be covered please let us know.

Who can help: Barristers, Judges & Benchers

Time commitment: Variable

Contact: Clara Shepherd


Other lectures and events

We are always keen to receive suggestions for other types of lectures, training, or events we could provide for our members. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.

Who can help: Barristers, Judges & Benchers

Time commitment: Variable

Contact: Clara Shepherd

Scholarship Interviews

Interview Panels

The Inn interviews hundreds of students each year for Bar Course and GDL Scholarships. Interviews are currently held in London, Manchester and Birmingham. All interview panels consist of three members of the Inn and we always need more volunteers. All interviewers have to undergo training before they can sit on a panel.

Who can help: Barristers, judges, and benchers

Time commitment: BPTC – one Saturday and one evening from 5pm, once per year; GDL – one Saturday per year

Contact: Siân Carpenter

Writing

Advocacy Exercises, Ethics Scenarios, and Moot Problems

We are always looking to increase our bank of advocacy exercises, ethics scenarios, and moot problems.  If you are interested in writing new materials for us, please get in touch and we will send you further information on the format and types of materials we need.

Who can help: Barristers, Judges & Benchers

Time commitment: Variable

Contact: Alice Thompson

Expenses

We are extremely grateful to all those who give up their time voluntarily to assist with the Member Engagement and Education Programmes. We always provide refreshments at our events and, in the case of weekend training courses, all travel expenses are reimbursed as well as accommodation and food being provided.