Equal Opportunities

A fairly modern concept by all accounts. In recent years it has been particularly prevalent in public bodies and political speech. I would like to consider whether this is a useful idiom, or linguistic filler people say to seem concerned, fair and just and whether there are even such things as equal opportunities.

The Bar Council’s It’s your call got me thinking and their commitment to access to the profession. There are now fantastic opportunities for everyone these days. For example, according Bar Council, “68.4% of those in pupillage studied universities other than Oxford and Cambridge”. That’s encouraging I thought.

Wait. That means that over one third of all barristers; one third, went to Oxford or Cambridge! What are we to make of this statistic?

Perhaps students at Oxford and Cambridge really are that much better. Or perhaps it’s the reputation of the universities that helps their graduates along. Or it could be that people who go to Oxford and Cambridge tend to have more barristers in the family, friends whose parents are barristers and so getting a foot in the door is easier.

This might seem a bit unfair, not all Oxbridge graduates fit any ill-founded and archaic stereotypes.

Maybe everyone that wants to be a barrister should take an exam and then only the best will be selected on merit. Maybe, but that’s crazy talk and that isn’t how things are. As George Orwell wrote, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

It is true now and will always be the case.

That doesn’t mean we should not make it easier to get into the legal profession for everyone, or that I am critical of the many successes the Bar Council have had. What does irritate me and what undermines the good that has been done is to gloss over the reality.

Perhaps the sentence would be better worded as follows, “Although, currently over one third of those in pupillage studied at Oxford and Cambridge we are taking a number of steps to increase participation of students that graduated from other universities that are just as smart and well qualified as their counter-parts at Oxbridge, but are in many (not all) probably slightly less well connected in the legal profession”.

Either way if you do want to be a barrister take a read of It’s your call there is a lot of good stuff in there with insights from people that have already walked the path.


Don’t forget all our other blogs on the site:

Pauls Blog

Resident Expert Blog

In-house Lawyer Blog

Trainee Solicitor

Legal Executive






International student

I think we covered all the bases!


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