The following was posted to the Law Society Gazette on the 21 August 2019 (https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/social-mobility-boost-for-aspiring-solicitors/5101196.article). It highlights the Law Society’s diversity access scheme for people wishing to qualify as solicitors and which will open to applicants next February.
“The Law Society is urging aspiring solicitors facing various hurdles to qualifying to apply for a place on Chancery Lane’s social mobility scheme after welcoming the latest cohort of scholars.
Society vice president David Greene said he was delighted to welcome 10 new students to the Diversity Access Scheme, which has supported more than 200 lawyers since it was set up in 2004.
Applicants would have had no more than £5,000 in savings, and had free school meals, gone to a non-fee-paying school and been the first generation of their family to attend higher education, or highlight the ‘exceptional’ circumstances that made it hard for them to become a solicitor.
The scheme offers scholars a bursary to fund their legal practice course, work experience and mentoring. It is being sponsored by RBS, BP, Withers, Eversheds Sutherland, Nottingham Law School, BPP Law School, the University of Law and the University of Westminster.
Greene said the scheme’s alumni are thriving in firms, in-house, local authorities and in the social advice sector. ‘The one thing they have in common is that they have all achieved these careers in the face of real challenges – homelessness, financial instability and disability, to name a few,’ he said.
One awardee, trainee solicitor Kabir Joshi, said his scholarship ‘alleviated the enormous financial burden and the associated stress’.
Joshi joined London firm Wilson Solicitors in 2016 as an immigration caseworker. He said: ‘I intend to study part-time and work full-time, completing my training contract at Wilson Solicitors. Here I will continue working on immigration and public law with a focus on asylum and human trafficking claims.
‘Receiving the scholarship feels like an acknowledgment of the hardships I, and others, with difficult life experiences face. I feel like it is a just reward for our commitment and our resilience.’
Applications will reopen next February”.