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Blueprint for Returners and Movers: A Guide to Best Practice for Chambers

The Talent Retention Scheme provides support to Middle Temple barristers who are either returning from time out of practice (a “returner”) or switching practice areas (a “mover”).

The scheme is open to men and women, and all barristers, employed and self-employed.

Time out of practice may be for any reason including parental leave, adoption leave, caring responsibilities, health reasons, further study, or time-out to pursue other ventures. Movers could be changing discipline because they are excited about a new challenge or because their practice is not compatible with family or caring responsibilities, other commitments, or has become difficult to sustain for various reasons. For example, criminal barristers moving to family or regulatory work; self-employed barristers becoming employed, or vice versa.

Supporting returners and movers is a concrete way of encouraging diversity, equality and inclusion. We know from BSB statistics that women and those from minority ethnic backgrounds leave the profession in higher numbers than that of their white male counterparts, particularly around the 10-year call level. This is a problem.

Returners and movers offer cognitive diversity and will bring different approaches, skills and experience to enrich the offer of the organisation that takes them on. A mindset that encourages long-term thinking within chambers is to be encouraged.

In order to support movers and returners Middle Temple have produced a set of guidelines which can be found here. We would ask chambers to consider them and whether they could adopt these practices so as to support those returning to self-employed Bar.