Corporate Social Responsibility
Atkin Chambers is a modern, forward-looking set with an international outlook. Members and staff are involved in initiatives that promote and support equality and diversity, promote access to the legal profession and to the Bar, and contribute to the wider legal and business community in which members and their clients work.
Equality and diversity
Chambers is committed to respecting and understanding the cultural needs of its diverse and global client base, and is committed to equality and diversity in both recruitment and the provision of services.
Chambers understands the importance of the legal profession, including the Bar and the Judiciary, reflecting the make-up of society. Chambers welcomes members, pupils and staff without regard to age, sex, race, ethnic or national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, religion or belief. Chambers aims to follow best practice with regards to disability and reasonable adjustments. Please see the section on equality and diversity for further information.
Chambers is proud that members and staff have a diverse range of ages, backgrounds and ethnicities. Languages spoken include Mandarin, Cantonese, Urdu, Bengali, Hindi, French, German, Portuguese and Italian.
Chambers welcomes the opportunity to work with other groups to foster equality and diversity at the Bar. Atkin Chambers supports FreeBar, a forum focused on LGBT+ people and their allies working at and for the Bar. A number of members of Atkin Chambers are founding members of The TECBAR BAME Network.
Chambers is pleased to support The 10,000 Black Interns Programme for 2021/22 which aims to transform the horizons and prospects of young Black people in the UK by offering paid work experience across a wide range of industries, as well as world-class training and development.
Outreach and social mobility
Chambers endeavours to reach out to those considering a career at the Bar over the course of the year mentoring students and speaking at events designed to encourage applications from under-represented groups. Click here for more details.
Atkin Chambers and the vast majority of its members have, for many years, actively supported Advocate (the Bar Pro Bono Unit), including by being members of the panel of available barristers and through financial donations.
Atkin Chambers has been a supporter of the work of Advocate as a Pro Bono Patron for several years.
Members and staff of Atkin Chambers join the London Legal Walk every year including in 2020 when the walk was unable to go ahead in its traditional format when members ran, walked, cycled and swam in the 10x Challenge in support of the London Legal Support Trust, which funds Law Centres and pro bono agencies in and around London, the Free Representation Unit and Advocate.
Criminal Pupillage Funding Scheme
Following the launch in December 2020 of the Criminal Pupillage Funding Scheme, Atkin Chambers committed to providing the funding for a criminal pupillage starting in September 2021.
The Criminal Pupillage Funding Scheme was devised in recognition of the challenges caused by Covid-19 and the impact on the recruitment and training of pupil barristers in publicly funded areas of the Bar. Several commercial sets, including Atkin Chambers, are providing funding for a pupillage that would otherwise have been postponed or cancelled because of the effect of Covid-related court closures on some barristers’ sets. Click here to read the full story (Criminal Pupillage Funding Scheme).
Chambers has played host to lawyers from Asia-Pacific and South America on training and exchange programmes such as the Bar Council Training Scheme.
Participating in the legal community
Many members of Atkin Chambers give their time to a range of organisations and programmes in the wider legal community. For example:
- Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC was, during 2016, Chair of the Bar of England and Wales.
- Sebastian Pigott is on the Technology & Construction Bar Association (TECBAR) committee and Steven Walker QC and Riaz Hussain QC are co-opted committee members. Caroline Greenfield and Max Twivy are joint editors of the Tecbar Newsletter.
- The Society of Construction Law, when founded in 1983, had three members of Chambers as founder members. Lauren Adams is a current council member.
- Serena Cheng QC and Jennifer Jones are both advocacy tutors for Lincoln’s Inn. Simon Lofthouse QC has been an advocacy trainer for Gray’s Inn since 2004.
Many members of Atkin Chambers are, in a private capacity, engaged with a range of community organisations, networks and charities as school governors and trustees for example.
Atkin Chambers commends the efforts by the Bar Council of England and Wales, the Inns of Court and the Institute of Barristers’ Clerks in its development of the Wellbeing at the Bar portal which provides support and best practice to barristers, clerks and chambers on wellbeing and mental health issues. Atkin Chambers was awarded a Wellbeing at the Bar Certificate of Recognition by the Bar Council for its “innovation and invaluable contribution made to the wellbeing initiative in the profession” in 2021.
Read more about what Chambers has done in this area here on the Wellbing at the Bar website.
Atkin Chambers is an accredited London Living Wage employer.
Work continues to source suppliers and office equipment and consumables that are carbon-neutral and ethically-sourced. For example Chambers’ paper is ultimately sourced from one of the leading paper manufacturers in the world in terms of their CSR/sustainability commitments from forestry to manufacture. Chambers has a comprehensive recycling policy in place and includes, but is not limited to, paper waste, printer toners and batteries. Waste is reduced where possible, eg printers and copiers are set to duplex and B&W print as standard. Redundant IT equipment is disposed of ensuring both data security but also to ensure 0% to landfill. Any equipment that cannot be used in whole form is recycled for its materials. Old mobile phones are donated to Little Lives UK (https://www.littlelives.org.uk).