Garden Court Long Term Mentoring Scheme and Leslie Thomas QC shortlisted at UK Diversity Legal Awards 2017

Friday 22 September 2017

We are delighted to announce that the Garden Court Chambers’ long term mentoring scheme, ‘Access to the Bar for All’, and Leslie Thomas QC have been shortlisted at the UK Diversity Legal Awards 2017. An initiative of the Black Solicitors Network, the awards are the only industry awards which focus solely on recognising, promoting and celebrating equality, diversity and inclusion across the legal profession.

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Garden Court has been shortlisted for Diversity Initiative of the Year for the Garden Court Long Term Mentoring Scheme.

‘Access to the Bar for All’ encourages students from minority and disadvantaged groups to consider a career as a barrister. 16-year-old students, girls and/or those from ethnic minority and disadvantaged groups are offered mentoring for five years and paid internships at Garden Court. Students in the scheme have the opportunity to be awarded a £7000 per year scholarship to assist with living expenses at university if they go on to study a law degree.

This scheme has been pioneered by Mia Hakl-Law, Head of Operations and Human Resources at Garden Court Chambers, in conjunction with Leslie Thomas QC, Chair and Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers. Barristers from Garden Court have kindly agreed to provide mentoring to students over the course of five years. The mentor barristers are: Di Middleton QC, Jo Cecil, Paul Clark, Helen Curtis, Gemma Loughran and Ann Osborne.

Leslie Thomas QC has been shortlisted for the Lifetime Achievement Award at the UK Diversity Legal Awards. Una Morris of Garden Court Chambers nominated Leslie Thomas QC. Leslie has spent his entire career representing clients from diverse backgrounds, acting for vulnerable, marginalised and disadvantaged people, who seek justice and accountability from the state and others.

He has appeared in many landmark cases such as: the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan, who was shot dead by police sparking national riots; the inquiry into the death of Azelle Rodney, who was unlawfully killed by the police; the Hillsborough inquests for 11 families; and the case of Christi and Bobby Shepherd, who died on a Thomas Cook holiday.

Leslie has advanced the careers of a generation of BAME lawyers and students through mentoring and training over many years. Leslie is a member of the Inner Temple Outreach Committee, which targets state schools that have diverse student populations, and he is a member of the Inner Temple Diversity Committee, which aims to make the Inn more inclusive. Leslie is Deputy Master for diversity and inclusion.

The UK Diversity Legal Awards will be held on 28 November 2017 when the winners will be announced.

For further details about the Garden Court Long Term Mentoring Scheme, please contact Mia Hakl-Law, Head of Operations & HR on

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