Gatehouse Chambers has been running an extensive corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme for many years. CSR is at the heart of our values as an organisation and features as part of our business strategic objectives. We often take key decisions as an organisation based on our values. CSR is led from the top at Gatehouse Chambers, but also crucially owned by everyone else. We are committed to the role we play in our community and wider society, and in operating as an environmentally sustainable organisation. We take part in a range of initiatives that benefit others, particularly in providing opportunities for young people and those under-represented in gaining access to the legal profession.
We especially enjoy collaborating with our clients and other groups to provide these opportunities and this can range from delivering mock trials, work experience placements, law career seminars, or in giving up our time, experience and space to do a wide range of great things together.
One of the initiatives we are particularly proud of is a scheme we have been running for over 5 years to advertise openly and recruit industry year students to spend a year at Gatehouse Chambers as a full-time employee.
In 2017 Gatehouse Chambers was recognised by the Financial Times as an ‘Architect of Meritocracy’ for its Diversity and Inclusion initiatives at the Bar. As a Stonewall Diversity Champion, Gatehouse Chambers was delighted to collaborate with other chambers to set up FreeBar, a forum focused on LGBT+ people and their allies working at and for the Bar.
Gatehouse Chambers is proud to have been a London Living Wage employer for many years.
The tabs below give more detail of some of the aspects of our CSR programme. For further information about any of our initiatives or to collaborate with us, please contact Amanda Illing.
- Education & work experience
A key priority of Gatehouse Chambers’ CSR objectives is to provide a range of opportunities to enable talented people to have access to the legal profession, particularly those people from under-represented groups.
We are keenly aware of the importance of education and access opportunities, and our responsibility within the legal profession (and particularly at the Bar) to encourage and support schemes that help achieve these goals.
We enjoy collaborating with a wide spectrum of clients, charities and other organisations to deliver a range of different programmes, including inspirational careers talks, mock trials, and work experience placements. We know that inviting people in to Gatehouse Chambers to spend time with barristers, pupils and staff can make a real impact on people’s career choices, and to assist them in building up an essential network of contacts for the future.
The process to apply for work experience can be viewed here.
It has been a real pleasure to collaborate with others, including:
- the four Inns of Court in their range of educational programmes, including the Pegasus programme and Pathways to Law
- Tower Hamlets Education & Business Partnership
- Through the Looking Glass
- Corporation of London’s Heart of the City
- Social Mobility Foundation
- Herbert Smith Freehills
University placement scheme
A scheme that we are particularly proud of is our industry year student placement scheme that has been running for many years. The scheme is advertised openly at the beginning of each year for a placement that starts in June. As Stonewall Diversity Champions and London Living Wage employers we have been attracting excellent applicants. We have been particularly targeting students from non-Russell Group universities. Our students return to university after a year at Gatehouse Chambers to complete their university degree, watched proudly by their ex-Gatehouse Chambers colleagues who are willing them success! The testimonials below from our three most recent students (from the University of Kent, Sheffield Hallam and Northampton Universities) reflects how effective this scheme is:
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working at Gatehouse Chambers this past year. I have learned many transferable skills from working as part of the both the Marketing and IT teams. As a Business and IT student, working as Marketing and IT Assistant at Gatehouse Chambers has been the perfect place to put into practice my academic knowledge. Through working as part of smaller teams, I have had a hands-on, on-the-job approach to both Marketing and IT. Working in a hybrid role, I have been able to learn how IT and Marketing work together on branding and online communications. Working as part of the Marketing team, I have gained experience and skills in events, PR, client relationship management and online digital marketing which included managing the Gatehouse Chambers’ website, newsletters and social media presences. As well as this, I have been able to learn how to run a busy podcast series which included being involved with all aspects from recording, editing and uploading followed by advertisement. As part of the IT department, I have gained experience in a number of server support matters – diagnosing and solving an array of different IT issues through learning on-the-job. Gatehouse Chambers has been a brilliant first step into my professional career and I have enjoyed working as part of a friendly, supporting and welcoming team.” Raisha
“Gatehouse Chambers is a great place to work. The past year has shown me the importance of being able to implement my academic and theoretical knowledge from university into a professional working environment. Working at Gatehouse Chambers as a marketing and event student has allowed me to develop a wide range of skills that I know will be transferable throughout my career; the hands on approach of using digital marketing, social media, CRM, managing the website, organising events and finding solutions to many IT problems, are all key aspects of the business that contribute to the great market strategy and staff ethos. Gatehouse Chambers is a place where individuals come together with different skill sets, aspirations and attitudes. Being part of a smaller team has given me a unique hands on approach, which has enabled me to learn independently and be more creative from both a marketing and IT perspective. I have enjoyed being a part of such a fun and supportive team -everyone at Gatehouse Chambers is so friendly and share a passion for what they do.” Tia
“As a marketing student I have been able to apply theory into practice every day. It is fast-paced and different. I have lots to do with the barristers and clients and I help host events, including the work experience programme. I am encouraged to develop my own ideas by being an integral part of a supportive team. Being here has given me a work ethic and a proper understanding of a professional service environment. I will always remember Gatehouse Chambers as the starting point in my life and career and it opened my eyes of what I can achieve. I’ve been so lucky, and encouraged by inspirational, successful people.” Yasmin
The application form for our student placement scheme appears in about February and can be found on our Recruitment pages.
Recognising that we have spent many years working on these initiatives, and that many people have experienced Gatehouse Chambers one way or another, we created the Gatehouse Chambers Alumni Club to keep in touch and to continue to help, track and support the progress of people’s lives and careers.
- Charitable giving
The barristers and staff at Gatehouse Chambers regularly organise, participate and donate in fund-raising events for a range of charitable causes. We also like to support others in their charitable activities, and often work together with our clients on their own CSR programmes and fund-raising.
Recognising that meeting room space in the centre of London is such a premium, Gatehouse Chambers is delighted to work with charitable organisations to donate its seminar and meeting room space free of charge, when availability allows.
There are a number of events in the CSR and legal calendar at which groups of Gatehouse Chambers colleagues participate together, including baking cakes, wearing pink/green/jeans, playing softball, playing ping pong the doing the 10K London Legal Walk organised by the London Legal Support Trust.
This picture is a good example. Amanda Illing, CEO says: “I love the picture on this page. A group of smiling people raising money and doing something worthwhile together, made up of barristers, an international lawyer intern, a research assistant an aspiring barrister, a practice manager, a marketing person, an office manager, an industry year student placement, a fees manager, a supporting relative who comes along to take part, a Head of Chambers, a CEO. Oh, and a mascot dog. And the best thing? You don’t necessarily know which one is which because we are all in it together. That’s Gatehouse Chambers!”
We have particularly enjoyed collaborating with charities to put on events to attract our clients and raise awareness and support, including our famous ping pong and pizza nights and the many events we have hosted in collaboration with the Sir John Soane Museum.
Finally, our CSR activities are led from the top. Joint Head of Chambers, PJ Kirby QC, has made fame on several occasions by running a 70-seater pop up restaurant for guests to dine his own 6-course culinary extravaganza, all funds in aid of the Save the Children Billable Hour Appeal.
- Pro bono
Many people at Gatehouse Chambers (barristers and staff) give up their time to undertake roles in a range of charitable organisations as trustees or participants in other ways. Our barristers provide pro bono (free) advice to those who cannot afford legal representation through schemes run by organisations including the Bar Advocate scheme, ELAAS, CLIPS and FRU.
Sometimes a barrister will agree to take a case on a pro bono basis either at the start or for the entirety of a case. Sometimes clients will be able to get funding once the case has started. These decisions are for individual barristers to make with the support of Gatehouse Chambers.
Gatehouse Chambers has developed strong links to organisations that provide free representation, including charities and Citizens Advice Bureaux.
Recognising that meeting room space in the centre of London is such a premium, Gatehouse Chambers is delighted to work with charitable organisations to donate its seminar and meeting room space free of charge, when availability allows. The range of high quality room space can be viewed here.
As an example, Gatehouse Chambers was delighted to host a weekend course called “Women Leading Social Change” run by social entrepreneur, Caroline Ellis.
Advocate – the Bar Pro Bono Unit
Advocate is based at the Pro Bono Centre in Chancery Lane is a charity which helps to find pro bono legal assistance from volunteer barristers for those in society who cannot afford to pay. At Gatehouse Chambers, we recognise the important role Advocate plays within the Bar community and have developed ways to foster our relationship with Advocate and support the fantastic work it is doing. Gatehouse Chambers barristers act as case assessors and as advocates for Advocate. Gatehouse Chambers’ current Bar Advocate Champion is Brie Stevens-Hoare QC. Patrick Sarson won Advocate’s Pro Bono Chambers’ Professional of the Year 2021.
Gatehouse Chambers is delighted to give up its room space to accommodate Advocate for committee meetings and strategy meetings from time to time.
Chancery Bar Litigant in Person Support Scheme (CLIPS)
CLIPS is a scheme run by the Chancery Bar Association, the Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau and the Bar Pro Bono Unit. Barristers at Gatehouse Chambers volunteer for the scheme where one or two barristers make themselves available each applications day outside Court 10 to help litigants in person.
Free Representation Unit (FRU)
FRU is one of the oldest free legal representation organisations since 1972, providing legal advice, case preparation and advocacy in tribunal cases for those who could not otherwise obtain legal support. Gatehouse Chambers barristers who take part provide advisory and advocacy services in employment tribunals (and the Employment Appeal Tribunal) and in benefit appeals.
Personal Support Unit (PSU)
The PSU provides practical and emotional support to people who are representing themselves in court (litigants in person). Gatehouse Chambers has worked in partnership with the PSU for many years, to support the key role it plays in supporting vulnerable self-representing litigants at court.
Nigel Jones QC, and his wife Monique, a professional cabaret singer, performed at one of the Friends of the PSU Gala evenings, raising money for the PSU.
Gatehouse Chambers is delighted to give up its room space to accommodate the PSU for committee meetings and strategy meetings from time to time.
Employment Lawyers Appeals Advice Scheme (ELAAS)
Members of Gatehouse Chambers’ employment team give free advocacy as part of the ELAAS rota in the Employment Appeal Tribunal as part of the scheme.
- Environmental commitment
Gatehouse Chambers is committed to take all reasonable steps to operate as an environmentally sustainable organisation. Our Green Team take the lead in initiatives that aim to minimise our contribution to climate change.
In recognition of the Green Team’s achievements, chambers received the Award for Environmental Excellence in 2017 in appreciation of our work in recycling and reducing CO2 emissions.
The range of Green Team initiatives include:
- We educate staff and members to be more environmentally conscious and it is included in our induction programmes.
- We take steps to reduce our building energy footprint by turning off lights, computers and monitors each night.
- We have motion sensors that control our lights, automatically turning them off when there is no movement.
- Paper, card, plastics, aluminium, batteries, computer parts and CDs are fully recycled. Lever arch folder are re-used and we make every effort to limit the amount of paper print, using double sided and A5 as a norm.
- Our Blue Planet project encourages colleagues to stop taking plastic knives and forks when buying their lunch, and to use ‘keep cups’ for coffee, rather than take away cups with plastic lids.
- As far as possible our food stuff (biscuits etc) are sourced from fair trade and ethical sources. We buy local where we can.
If you have any queries, please contact Administration Manager, Allison Longley.