ELBA has been supporting the social and economic regeneration of East London for over 30 years. The charity works in partnership with business and the local community, including universities and schools, to build the capacity of local organisations and the community, harnessing the time, skills and expertise of volunteers. RLC are the first Chambers to partner with ELBA, with a focus on education and employment.
The mentees who are interested in pursuing a career at the Bar participated in the bespoke mentoring programme that supports law students to prepare for entry into the legal profession. Launched in January of 2021, the programme has seen a total of 16 RLC mentors paired with 16 mentees.
Monthly mentoring sessions took place following a syllabus which included practical experience of advocacy, personal confidence and communication skills training as well as regular 1-2-1 feedback from mentors. In addition, sessions allowed mentees to ask any questions they might have regarding journeys to the Bar and what the role of a practising barrister could entail. The programme culminated with a mock trial at the Old Bailey where mentees were given the opportunity to showcase essential skills such as public speaking, critical thinking and the art of forming a persuasive, cohesive argument.
Zoë Chapman, an RLC/ELBA mentor said:
“The mock trial at the Old Bailey was a great success and I have been particularly impressed with the mentees’ approach and dedication to learning on the scheme. Our partnership with ELBA provides an invaluable opportunity for those pursuing a career within the legal profession and it has been a real joy to be involved and witness the mentees’ development.”
Michelle Nelson QC, RLC/ELBA mentoring lead said:
“As part of Chambers commitment to supporting young people and promoting equality, diversity and social mobility, I am pleased that we have launched this bespoke mentoring programme supporting the law students from East London based universities to experience the practical side of our profession and to assist them to prepare for entry into it.
This year, due to Covid-19, the mentoring took place online and although this has allowed mentees to participate from both within the UK and abroad, our great hope is that our programme next year will take place in person. This will enable us to facilitate hands-on learning and work shadowing which will strengthen the relationship between mentors and mentees as well as further enhance their experience our programme.”
Three law students from Queen Mary University Law School spoke about their experience in taking part in the Mock Trial:
Tejal Shah, a third-year student in Global Law said:
“I was given the role of the prosecution, whereby I conducted an examination-in-chief, cross examination and presented a closing speech. I’ve never felt more adrenaline in my life….This opportunity has definitely confirmed for me that the Criminal Bar is where I want to end up.”
Maira Raza, first year law student said:
“The ELBA programme was incredibly enlightening, in my experience. The mentoring sessions taught me an array of skills and the mock trial gave us the opportunity to demonstrate and practice what we had learned, the perfect way to conclude the programme! It was an enjoyable yet informative experience, one that will definitely help me greatly through my career.”
Georgia Rowe, first year law student interested in criminal and human rights law said:
“I had the amazing opportunity of participating in a mock trial at the Old Bailey, an event arranged by Red Lion Chambers and East London Business Alliance. This is a highlight of my year so far, I am still buzzing from the experience. This was my first time wearing the wig and gown so lots of pictures were taken! A special thank you to my wonderful mentors Riel Karmy-Jones Q.C. and Caroline Baker who have spent much of their time helping me work on my advocacy skills.”
RLC mentors included joint Head of Chambers Gillian Jones QC, Riel Karmy-Jones QC, Jenni Dempster QC, Michelle Nelson QC, Michael Goodwin QC, Cameron Brown QC, Hannah Willcocks QC, Sailesh Mehta, Alistair Fell, Genevieve Reed, Lucy Ginsberg, Sam Roake, Zoë Chapman, Nicholas Hall, Caroline Baker and Georgia Lassoff.
Other volunteers included RLC members Aneurin Brewer, Sophie Quinton-Carter, Tim Kiely, Francesca Kirby, Sam Smart and pupils Alex Benn, Nicholas Fryer, Sarah Taylor-Wilmshurst and Joshua Ellis.
For more information on ELBA please see here: [ELBA]