Fighting for the next generation of indigenous talent

The Bar

Melia Benn is one of only two practising Indigenous women barristers at the Queensland Bar. She was called to the Bar in 2018, and has a dual practice in both Endeavour Chambers, Cairns and Griffith Chambers, Brisbane. The Legal 500’s Head of Inclusion, Equality, and Culture, Fiona Fleming, spoke with Melia about her pathway into law, the obstacles she’s faced as an Indigenous woman, and what the Australian legal industry can do to improve Indigenous representation

FF: Tell me a little about what it was like for you growing up in Far North Queensland, and what it was that made you want to be a lawyer? I grew up in a place called Gordonvale and there are parts of when I think about growing up in Far North Queensland that can …

Making pro bono transparent

The Bar

Mary Dobson, former joint COO and head of fundraising and comms at Advocate, the Bar’s national pro bono charity, says those providing free legal advice should be more vocal about what they are doing

It is a truth universally acknowledged that all barristers do pro bono. Or is it? Despite the wide variety of interesting and deserving cases, the opportunity for practice development and the fact that, unlike when doing paid work, a barrister gets to choose which cases they take on, the number of barristers undertaking work through …

Protecting your assets

The Bar

Keith Plowman, senior clerk at Ten Old Square Chambers, discusses the modern barristers’ clerk’s role in promoting good mental health in chambers

Modern barristers’ clerks are not a ‘new breed’ but the evolutionary result of the shifting forum in which they operate. Their history may hark back to harsher and more subservient times, but their current expertise is recognised by successful sets of chambers who require effective management of individual barristers’ practices and chambers’ business. The poet, …

A day in the life…

The Bar...

5SAH Chambers’ Louisa Collins details her life as a specialist extradition barrister, juggling family commitments with exciting, challenging, and emotive cases

Usually a ‘day in the life story’ starts with the morning, but for this job it usually commences the evening before, readying myself for the following day. The adrenaline of being in court brings with it a rush of activity close to the hearing date. I tend to prepare for examining witnesses the day before …

All you need to know about the UK Bar 2020

The Bar

John van der Luit-Drummond provides an overview of the latest Bar rankings, some general submission feedback, and news on what’s to come in our next research round

Congratulations to every barrister and chambers that appears in The Legal 500’s 2020 UK Bar rankings. The latest rankings are a culmination of all your hard work and expertise as well as the painstaking research carried out by our dedicated and talented research team. This latest guide is our most expansive yet. The 2020 guide …

From Bar to baby, and back again: Balancing practice with parenthood

The Bar

Littleton Chambers’ Charlene Ashiru opens up about the challenges of taking a break from practice for parental leave, and provides practical advice on how to prepare yourself both practically and psychologically

Parenting and practice are not mutually exclusive. The thought may seem daunting at first, not least because you may have spent a number of years building your practice and professional network only to go and take an extended period of leave; but the prospect should be seen by you and all of those around you …

A generation that thinks differently

The Bar

From the importance of gender diversity and social mobility to support for pro bono work, Essex Court Chambers’
Richard Hoyle explains how the millennial mindset is
changing the commercial Bar

‘Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t …

Chambers’ social responsibility

The Bar

UK Bar editor John van der Luit-Drummond talks to five sets about their various CSR initiatives – what works, why they do it, and the challenges they face

Chambers’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives cover a number of different areas, including access to the profession and equality and diversity, as well as initiatives focusing on staff health, environmental sustainability, ethical business practices, and charitable causes. A successful CSR programme can have far-reaching effects, not only for the reputation of a chambers, but also …

Entrepreneurial marketing

The Bar

Georgina MacLellan, business development manager at 4 New Square, discusses her chambers’ recently launched podcast and looking beyond the traditional marketing tool-box

Chambers has recently launched the ‘Analysis: Commercial Dispute Resolution and life at the Bar’ podcast. How did the idea of this podcast come about? There are two arms to our podcast – recent developments in commercial law and life at the Bar. The idea was initially born out of a desire to reach our international …

Vulnerability is empowering

The Big issue

Talking about mental health issues is difficult for us all,
especially lawyers. Chris Parsons is the chair of Herbert Smith Freehills’ India practice group, a mental health champion, and someone who can speak from personal experience about the challenges of practising law while struggling with stress, anxiety, and depression.

Parsons first shared his personal struggles, medication, and experience of mental ill-health during the ‘This is Me’ campaign a City of London initiative aiming to encourage openness on the subject and address the stigma attached to mental illness. Since then, Chris has travelled to different countries to conduct deeper conversations and deliver trainings on the …