Collaborate, a case-based mentoring scheme

As part of Advocate's 25th anniversary year, we are launching a new mentoring scheme, Collaborate, with opportunities for both junior and senior barristers! 

Senior barristers can sign up to offer their skills as an Advocate mentor here.

Junior barristers can register their interest in receiving mentoring when they take on a case with Advocate.

"It can be daunting for junior barristers to take on pro bono cases without having an instructing solicitor to assist or talk to. This is why mentoring is a brilliant idea. It will give more members of the Bar the confidence to take on pro bono cases, which will result in more access to justice to those that need it most." Gemma Carr, Spire Barristers

Aims of the scheme:

  • After what has been a challenging year, Advocate wants to ensure that all junior barristers are adequately supported when working on pro bono cases.
  • Taking on cases pro bono work is a brilliant way to grow your skills and practice by choosing challenging cases and gaining advocacy experience.

  • Many senior barristers registered to the Advocate panel want to give back, however our case list does not always match their expertise. Mentoring not only has the potential to add immense value to the mentee but can offer the personal satisfaction of helping a junior colleague and other career benefits, such as providing evidence of leadership for a QC application form.

  • This new service will also improve the quality of assistance provided, benefiting our applicants, who are some of the most vulnerable people in society.

"The combination of a silk and a young junior suits pro bono cases well and it is a mode of working which I have used before. It provides me with somebody to do groundwork, and I hope that my past experience of cases is educative to the junior, as well as of benefit to the client." Anthony Speaight QC, 4 Pump Court

How it works:

There are three ways senior barristers can mentor through Advocate:

  • Offer support for case related queries. This simply requires being on the end of the phone once a month. Advocate will link up a panel member and a mentor when the panel member has a specific query about the pro bono case they are working on with Advocate.

  • Choosing to work on an Advocate case as pro bono co-counsel alongside a junior or young barrister.

  • Mentoring for secondary specialisation. The mentor would work within their specialist area, helping a panel member taking on a case in their area of law for the first time.

Sign up to be an Advocate mentor here.

Being a Collaborate mentor:

Unless you choose to work directly on the case alongside a junior barrister (if so, you will be no different position than that of the junior barrister):

  • Your role as an Advocate mentor is purely, if asked, to offer general guidance on issues, procedural rules and practical matters related solely to the case that the mentee is working on. If the mentee is not working on a particular case, but has a general enquiry, you may also provide guidance. 

  • At no point would you form a barrister-client relationship.

  • Mentors are not giving legal advice to anyone. The junior barrister will be responsible for the case, but with the benefit of such guidance as you may give as mentor. 

  • Senior members of the Bar should not underestimate the potential they have to add immense value simply by sharing from their experience. Mentoring may also provide you with a renewed personal or professional satisfaction or other career benefits such as providing evidence of leadership for a QC application form.

"Pro bono work has given me an opportunity to bring in junior barristers on bigger cases. Not only does that give them exposure to different kinds of work, but it also gives me an opportunity to practice the skills that come with leading other barristers."
Justin Bates, Landmark Chambers

Next steps:

  • Fill in a short online registration form, indicating which of the three streams of mentoring you would be interested in taking part in (case mentoring, co-counsel or secondary specialisation).

  • Advocate matches the panel member volunteer and the mentor.

  • Advocate will ensure that each mentor is supporting no more than two individuals in a month.

  • It is the job of both the mentee and the mentor to decide on the best time to have a conversation. Mentoring will likely take place online or by telephone. 

  • The relationship does not need to be ongoing and sustained beyond the existing Advocate case, unless both the mentor and the mentee choose this themselves.

  • Mentors should be clear from the outset how much time they are able to give to supporting with the case.

  • Mentors are not giving legal advice to anyone. 

  • Mentors will not be expected to carry out drafting or have client contact unless they have opted to be a co-counsel as in option 2 above.

  • Some mentors may be willing to read over submissions, but this is not required.


If you have any further questions, please get in touch.