The Junior Bar Association, newly formed for members of the Faculty of Advocates called within the last five years, has elected its first committee.
President is Antonia Welsh, with Vice President Cameron Smith, secretary Amy Donachie and devils' representative Emma Boffey, while Fergus Whyte, Valentina Mori, Ayla Iridag and Emily Bradbury will serve as ordinary committee members.
The new association will provide support, offer opportunities to network, facilitate preferential access to events and promote ongoing continuing professional development activities.
The impact COVID-19 has had on the legal profession is among the main drivers behind its launch.
"There has been a definite increase in workloads, stress levels and overall anxiety levels within the Faculty’s membership since the restrictions brought about by the pandemic began", Ms Welsh commented.
The biggest impact has been felt by newer members of the bar, who may not yet enjoy access to the solid support networks or the high levels of skill enjoyed by more senior members. Many of them are also still primary caregivers to young children.
While Faculty has policies and procedures in place to support anyone requiring assistance, and is planning to enhance this in the future, she said the Junior Bar Association would provide an additional platform specifically tailored for the needs of its junior members.
Along with a focus on continual professional development, it will also provide information and support to anyone interested in calling to the bar.
Dean of Faculty Roddy Dunlop QC added: "It is clear that the last two years have been very tough on all practitioners and, perhaps in particular, on the newest intrants. The bar is already a very collegiate place, and this innovation will strengthen that by giving additional support mechanisms to the junior bar. The office bearers are fully supportive of the Junior Bar Association, and look forward to working with it as things, hopefully, start to return to normal."