Fellowships for aspiring barristers from disadvantaged backgrounds
‘Denham Fellowship’ gives students financial, educational and professional support
The new ‘Denham Fellowship’, named after Chief Justice Mrs Susan Denham, will offer two students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds financial, educational and professional support during their studies at the Bar of Ireland. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times
Two aspiring barristers are being offered the chance to the study at the Kings Inns in Dublin with financial, educational and professional support under a new fellowship announced on Friday.
The new ‘Denham Fellowship’, named after Chief Justice Mrs Susan Denham, will offer two students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds financial, educational and professional support during their studies at the Bar of Ireland.
The fellowship includes waived law library fees for the first four years of practice at the Bar including the entrance fee, exemption from fees for the Barrister-at-Law degree programme at the Kings Inns and an annual stipend of €6,000 for at least 5 years towards accommodation and living expenses.
The two fellows will also be assigned three mentors for the duration of the fellowship and support in locating a Master for each year of devilling.
A statement from the Bar of Ireland said it hoped the fellowships would encourage more diversity in the legal profession.
Mrs Justice Denham commended the Bar of Ireland and the King’s Inns for introducing this “fantastic, life changing opportunity for students who want to pursue a career as a barrister but may not have the financial means to do so”.
“Everyone benefits when the makeup of the legal profession reflects the diversity of the society it serves,” she said.
Barrister Sara Moorhead, who initiated the idea of a fellowship and is coordinator of the Bar’s transition year programme, said she hoped the new opportunity would encourage students from all backgrounds to consider a career at the Bar.
“As with many professions, becoming a barrister can be a daunting prospect for students if they don’t have the necessary support and we hope that, through the financial, educational and professional supports offered in this fellowship, we will be opening a door that otherwise may have appeared closed,” said Ms Moorhead.
She added that Mrs Justice Denham, the longest serving member of the court, was “widely respected and admired” as a role model and that she hoped the path the Chief Justice had forged would “serve as an inspiration to aspiring barristers all over the country.”
Applications for the fellowships open in March and the two successful candidates will begin their degree programme in October 2017.
More information is available at www.lawlibrary.ie