Support in England & Wales

A wealth of support programmes and mentoring opportunities are available to prospective and undergraduate law students from disadvantaged backgrounds to facilitate a career in law. These programmes enable students to network and build connections with solicitors in the profession, to develop transferable skills and to learn more about the various paths into the legal field. Law firms and other employers value involvement in such programmes as it signifies initiative and commitment to the legal career. Often, these programmes are used as a pipeline for future recruitment so impressing a firm could lead to employment in the future!

Each scheme generally has eligibility criteria which must be fulfilled, so please check the relevant website for further information.

Click the buttons below to find information relevant to you.

 

 Pre-undergraduate Law Students

Social Mobility Foundation

The SMF is a charity which offers support to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who hope to pursue a career in law, amongst other professions. This support is offered through the Aspiring Professionals Programme, with acceptance to the programme providing the opportunity to attend skills sessions, access mentoring and university application support as well as being offered work experience with a number of high-profile employers. 

 

There are criteria which must be met to be eligible for the APP which can be found on the SMF website. 

 

More information

IntoUniversity

IntoUniversity runs the Secondary Focus Programme, which is a structured series of workshops for Years 7 – 13. 

 

Core programme:

The programme involves two workshops per year, focused on developing key skills and providing information and advice on future options. These workshops are designed to relate to a particular stage of students' learning and are planned so as not to disrupt preparation for exams. 

In addition to the core workshops IntoUniversity also runs:

Buddy Programme - For groups of 20 Year 8 students; 2 days including a university visit to develop subject knowledge and learn more about university life. 

Careers in FOCUS - For groups of 15 Year 8 or 9 students; series of workshops led by volunteers from a range of professions, all include an interactive activity.

Business in FOCUS - For groups of Year 8-10 students; business volunteers work with students on a one-day challenge designed to promote skills in leadership, teamwork and managing under pressure.

Leadership in FOCUS - For small groups of Year 9 students; three-day programme which teaches leadership skills and raises aspiration, self-esteem and motivation.

 

More information and eligibility criteria

Smarter Futures

Allen & Overy’s e-mentoring programme, Smarter Futures, provides guidance, resources and support through a secure online platform combined with personal meetings with mentors and master classes on personal statements and commercial awareness.

 

All students participating in Smarter Futures can apply for one of two scholarships granted each year, through which A&O provides a bursary of £10,500 to help with university costs (paid over a three-year degree).

 

More information

Big Voice London

Big Voice London hosts a number of different events and projects for students throughout the year. 

 

The only eligibility requirements are: students must be at least 16 years old at the time of the project; and be studying A-Levels at a non-fee paying school. All projects are free of charge for all students. Unless specified, Big Voice London accept applications for all projects up to a week prior to the project commencing.

The following programmes are offered each year:

 

  • Mooting Competition - February to March

  • Introduction to the Legal System - May to June (NOW A PILOT ONLINE PROJECT)

  • Radcliffe Chambers Student Barrister Experience - July

  • Summer School, in association with Linklaters LLP - August

  • The country's only Model Law Commission - October to December 

  • Plus various other one-off programmes throughout the year

 

More information

Unlocked

This innovative programme created by Eversheds Sutherland is aimed at students who have academic potential and an interest in law, but who may believe that a legal career is out of their reach.

Over the course of three days spent at one of the offices, students will engage in a range of different activities to help them think about the actions needed to advance their career, both in the short term and the long term.

 

The programme will:

  • Dispel myths about what it's like to work in a major law firm.

  • Provide the chance to interact with current apprentices, trainees, partners, clients and barristers.

  • Explore the benefits of setting ambitious but achievable goals.

  • Offer advice on different ways of entering a firm.

  • Offer support through one-to-one coaching sessions.

  • Help develop non-academic strengths such as communication skills.

 

Students must:

  • attend a state (non-fee paying) school; and

  • be in Year 12; and

  • have mainly GCSE 9 - 6/A* - B grades; and

  • be or have been eligible for free school meals (or where this information is difficult or sensitive to obtain, the participant attends a school that is significantly above the regional average in terms of number of students eligible for free school meals); and

  • be of the first generation in their immediate family to attend university.

 

The programme runs in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham.

More information

Pathways to Law

The Pathways to Law programme, run by the Sutton Trust, is designed to support Year 12 pupils transition into life as a law student. Over the course of two years, Pathways to Law students will: attend campus events; receive access to exclusive work experience placements; be assigned a mentor; and visit the Inner Temple. 

In order to apply, students must:

  • Attend, and have always attended, a state-funded, non fee-paying school/college

  • Be in Year 12 at the start of the programme

  • Live within a reasonable commuting distance of the university you are applying to. This will normally be one hour’s travel time each way.

Additionally, the Trust are looking for students who:

  • Have achieved 5 A* – B grades at GCSE (with a minimum of 2 A*
    or A grades), including grades 9 – 6 in Mathematics and English

  • Would be the first generation in their family to attend university

  • Have been in receipt of Free School Meals whilst at Secondary School

  • Have attended schools with a lower than average progression to Higher Education, or a higher than average proportion of students
    who qualify for Free School Meals

  • Have parent(s)/guardian(s) who qualify for means-tested benefits

  • Have been looked after or in care

The more criteria you meet, the more likely you are to be offered a place on the programme.

More information

Lead Into Law

Lead in to Law is Slaughter and May’s two year development programme for Year 12 and Year 13 students interested in a legal career. It is run in partnership with diversity specialists Rare. The programme is focused on increasing access to the legal profession for students from socially diverse backgrounds. It offers places to 20 students each year, providing them with university application support, office visits, mentoring and work experience.

The programme is free to students and includes:

  • a launch event in February at Slaughter and May’s London office;

  • a one-to-one personal development meeting with the Rare team to set university application goals;

  • a visit to a top-tier London university;

  • personalised support from the Rare team with UCAS preparation and personal statement writing;

  • two work experience placements at Slaughter and May;

  • the option to be matched with a Slaughter and May mentor in Year 13 to support students in their transition to university;

  • a Year 13 revision tips session; and

  • a summer networking and university preparation event at the end of the programme.

Travel expenses will be covered throughout the programme.

To be eligible for the programme, students must:

  • be in Year 12 at a UK state school at the time of applying; AND

  • be based in London or Greater London (i.e. a reasonable commute from the Slaughter and May office in Moorgate); AND

  • have achieved at least 5 GCSEs at grades 6 – 9; AND

    • meet at least one of the following:

    • be eligible for free school meals between the ages of 11 and 16 (i.e. pupil premium); OR

    • grew up in a household where no parent/guardian had attended university; OR

    • have experience of another form of social disadvantage (e.g. in local authority care, refugee).

 

More information

Clifford Chance ACCESS

Clifford Chance’s ACCESS programme is a two-year development scheme for Year 12 students from less advantaged backgrounds. It consists of seven key components which are focused around specific core areas of personal and professional development: ACCESS Development; ACCESS Mentors; ACCESS Experience; ACCESS Tutoring; ACCESS Action; ACCESS Coaching; ACCESS Network.

 

The programme offers a four-day, classroom-based placement for an introduction to Clifford Chance and the legal sector, as well as a five-day placement with the Social Mobility Business Partnership where students visit five different companies and take part in immersive workshops. It also provides an online mentoring platform, access to one-to-one tutoring, coaching and the ability to work with Tender, a charity working to end domestic abuse and gender-based violence.

 

More information

Head Start

The Head Start programme by DLA Piper aims to improve equality of opportunity and break down barriers faced by under-represented groups when entering the legal profession.

The initiative ensures school and university students facing social, cultural or economic challenges are able to access long-term, practical support.

DLA Piper works with students for up to five years, providing financial assistance and a tailored course of mentoring, training and internships, designed to develop their skills, confidence and networks. After finishing, students are linked to the global graduate recruitment program and join the alumni network.

More information

Womble Bond Dickinson

Womble Bond Dickinson runs two programmes suitable for those at different stages in their educational journey. 

 

Inspire:

This programme is for those aged 14 and above who are studying towards their GCSEs or equivalent and would like to learn more about career opportunities and the skills needed for employment. Inspire offers two hour workshops throughout the year where students are introduced to Womble Bond Dickinson, the range of careers available in a law firm and important skills.

 

Insight:

This programme is suitable for those aged 16 and above who are studying for their A-Levels or equivalent. Insight allows students to learn more about Womble Bond Dickinson, career paths and to engage in a variety of activities in a jam-packed, interactive day. They will also have the opportunity to network with peers, meet colleagues from the business and learn more about negotiation, teamwork and research.

More information

Sutton Trust Summer School

The Sutton Trust Summer School programmes are designed to support high-achieving students from disadvantaged backgrounds. They offer a week-long residential experience at 13 of the UK’s top universities, and you can choose from over 40 different courses. The Sutton Trust cover the full costs of your travel, accommodation, food and activities meaning you do not need to choose a local university – you can choose one based on your subject interests.

 

To apply to a Summer School, you must:

  • Be studying in Year 12; 

  • Attend, and have always attended, a state-funded school or college (non-fee paying) in the UK

 

If you meet the above requirements, the following will also be considered when assessing your application:

  • Would be in the first generation of your family to attend university

  • Have been eligible for free school meals at any point during your secondary schooling

  • Attend a school or college with a below-average A-level point score and/or a low rate of progression to higher education

  • Live in a neighbourhood with a low rate of progression to higher education and/or a high level of socio-economic deprivation

  • Have achieved at least five A or 6 grades at GCSE, and where applicable, taken subjects relevant to the course applied for

 

The more criteria you meet, the more likely you are to secure a place.

 

More information

 

 Undergraduate Students

Making Links Scholars

Linklaters has created Making Links Scholars which is designed to help talented university students from low-income backgrounds succeed in their early careers. Scholars receive one-to-one coaching sessions, mentoring, guaranteed work experience and £6,000 in financial support, as well as becoming an ambassador for the Making Links campaign and working with Linklaters to shape their social mobility strategy. 

 

To be eligible you must be:

  • In the first year of a three-year course or second year of a four-year course 

  • From a low-income background (first generation to attend university, received free school meals or experienced other forms of social disadvantage 

  • Committed to pursuing a career in commercial law 

 

More information

The Corporate Law Academy

TCLA is an educational platform which aims to our students into lawyers. This involves providing online training as well as a forum where students, graduates and future trainee solicitors can come together to share their experiences and support each other.  

More information

Rare: Articles

Run by Rare Recruitment, Articles is a multi-award-winning programme designed to assist BAME students with applications for vacation schemes and training contracts. During the programme, participants benefit from:

  • Five one-to-one coaching sessions

  • Group sessions at the London offices of prestigious law firms such as Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and White & Case

  • Support with applications and interviews with these firms

 

To be eligible, students must be from a BAME background with at least AAB at A-Level or equivalent and be in their first year of a three-year course or second year of a four-year course.

 

More information

City Solicitors Horizons

City Solicitors Horizons is a groundbreaking social mobility initiative created to improve access to the legal profession for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.  The programme consists of mentoring, exclusive training from industry experts and work experience opportunities and supports candidates in their first year for three years of their undergraduate degree.

 

To be eligible you must have attended a state school and:

  • Received free school meals in the UK or any other financial assistance

  • Have been in local authority care

  • Are a parent or carer

  • Are a refugee or asylum seeker

  • Are the first to go to university in your immediate family 

 

More information

Corporate Law Programme

SEO London created the Corporate Law Programme specifically for undergraduate students at the following stages: 

  • First year of a law or non-law degree 

  • Second year of a four-year degree 

  • Penultimate year of a non-law degree 

The programme connects students with some of the most prestigious commercial law firms in the UK to maximise their career potential. It also provides an introduction to a career in law; workshops; firm open days and networking events; pre-first year programme training; and application guidance. 

 

More information

Pathways to Law Plus

The Sutton Trust's Pathways to Law Plus programme is open to first year undergraduate students. This programme involves a three-day residential trip to London to network with fellow students, visit leading law firms and receive advanced skills training. The programme is completely free to attend.

 

All costs - including travel, accommodation, food and activities - are paid for by the Trust and partners.

 

To be eligible, a first year undergraduate student must have always attended a state funded school.

In addition, the Trust are looking for students who:

  • Are the first generation of their family to attend university

  • Were in receipt of Free School Meals at secondary school and/or the Government’s 16-19 bursary in the final two years of school/college

  • Have attended schools with a lower than average progression to higher education, or a higher than average proportion of students who qualify for Free School Meals

  • Have been looked after or in care

  • Have achieved AAB grades at A-Level or equivalent

The more criteria you meet, the more likely you are to be offered a place on the programme

More information

Generation Success

Generation Success runs several programmes designed to support the career aspirations of those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Their activities include:

  • Career and professional development (including coaching, mentoring, training and workshops)

  • Industry insider events (including a monthly series of inspirational talks lead by business leaders)

  • Access to industry experts

  • Working with organisations to change recruitment & retention practices to level the playing field in careers within elite professions

  • A network of 6000+ people. A range of business leaders and 15 corporates who are/have supported our organisation. They include HSBC, RBS, Twitter, Eversheds, Reed Smith, Lloyds Bank, PWC, Natwest, Capita

 

More information

London Young Lawyers Group

LYLG offers a wealth of support for law students, trainees and qualified solicitors up to 7 years PQE. This includes monthly events such as careers evenings, educational seminars and networking opportunities. LYLG’s Legal Mentoring Scheme - Inspire and Be Inspired - compliments their offering where mentees and mentors can apply to be matched with others in the profession and gain access to exclusive mentoring events.

Follow their social media accounts for more information:

Instagram: @londonyounglawyers

LinkedIn: London Young Lawyers Group

 

Sign up to become a member here.

University Careers Services

The Careers Service at your university can offer a wealth of support regarding career advice, job application reviews, interview workshops and finding work experience. Many Careers Services also provide this support for many years after graduation, meaning it can be utilised in the search for a graduate job.

 

Often, Careers Services send out a weekly or monthly e-Newsletter. Check out the Careers section of your university website for more information.

Aspiring Solicitors

Aspiring Solicitors works with law firms and legal teams to provide events, mentoring and work experience opportunities to law students ​​to increase access to the legal profession. AS has three goals: 

  • To provide free access, opportunity and assistance to students from underrepresented groups;

  • To educate and inform the next generation of the legal profession about the importance of diversity; and

  • To promote and encourage diversity from within the profession.

AS considers underrepresented groups to be:

  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic; and/or

  • educated in a state school non-selective comprehensive (whether in the UK or overseas) and first generation to attend university; and/or

  • a refugee; and/or

  • from a low income household; and/or

  • in receipt of free school meals from a state school non-selective comprehensive; and/or

  • having spent more than 3 months in local authority care; and/or

  • disabled and/or who have and long term health conditions; and/or

  •  LGBT+.

More information

UpReach

UpReach supports young people to achieve their career potential by providing an intensive programme of support that addresses socio-economic barriers to employment. This includes access to exclusive work experience, insight days and mentoring opportunities from top employers as well as guidance during job applications, mock interviews and assessment centres.

 

More information

Get Ahead

Aimed specifically at final year students and graduates from Black and other underrepresented minority ethnic backgrounds who are interested in a career in commercial law, Get Ahead is Linklaters' tailored series designed to provide a head start in Vacation Scheme and Training Contract applications.      

Successful applicants will benefit from focused webinars designed to develop technical and professional skills. As well as invaluable support through the Vacation Scheme and Training Contract process. 

 

More information

Bright Network

The aim of Bright Network is to connect the next generation with the opportunities, insights and advice to succeed as the workforce of tomorrow. This is effected through networking opportunities, career advice and development as well as exclusive internships and graduate roles. 

More information

PASS

The Pegasus Access and Support Scheme (PASS) is a leading programme established by the Inner Temple and over 60 partner chambers. Designed to support aspiring barristers who have not yet started the BPTC, PASS secures a mini-pupillage in chambers for each participant. Participants also benefit from a focused professional and advocacy skills development programme.

 

Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the Inner Temple.

 

Participants must have attended a UK state school and meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Recipient of free school meals 

  • First in their family to attend university 

  • Have parents (s) who received income support or they themselves are in receipt of income or housing benefits

  • School area: Preference is given to those students who have attended schools with a low attainment and progression to higher education rate

 

Preference for PASS is given to applicants who have participated in the following programmes: 

  • Inner Temple schools project 

  • Pathway to Law 

  • Social Mobility Foundation programmes

  • Warwick Multicultural Scholars programme

  • Black Lawyers Directory Legal Launch Pad 

  • Urban Lawyers 

 

Applications from mature applicants and applicants with disabilities are encouraged.

 

More information

STRIVE

Strive is an initiative for law students who:

  • attended a state school 

  • have 320 UCAS points or are on track to receive a 2:1 

  • are diverse in any way, whether it be by gender, ethnicity or socio-economic background

There are two programmes: Spark and Supernova. 

Spark is aimed at first years, or those who are in the second year of a 4 year programme. It equips you with invaluable information regarding job and internship applications. Supernova is for penultimate year law students and graduates who are looking to start applying for vacation scheme and training contracts.

As a member of either programme, you will benefit from:

  • application reviews and mock assessment centres

  • one-to-one mentoring

  • interactive workshops

  • exclusive work experience opportunities and events

More information

Vacation Scheme Programme

Undergraduate (law and non-law) students are eligible to apply for the SEO London Vacation Scheme and Training Contract Programme.

 

This provides access to: speed networking events; exclusive open days; pre-vacation scheme training to help you convert a vacation scheme into a training contract offer; mentoring; and application guidance.

 

More information

Commercial Barristers

Commercial Barristers’ Chambers runs a mentoring scheme called Mentoring for Underrepresented Groups. The scheme runs between November and June and is open to all undergraduates and graduates from groups that are underrepresented at the Bar of England and Wales (and in particular the commercial bar) and who do not yet have a pupillage offer. Those underrepresented groups include women; people from minority ethnic backgrounds; people with disabilities; LGBT+ people; people who spent time in care; and people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

 

Successful applicants to join the scheme will be allocated a mentor, who will be a member of one of the participating sets of chambers. As part of the scheme, mentees will be offered:

  • Between three and five one-on-one meetings with their mentor.

  • A workshop on applications for pupillage.

  • Subject to developments in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, one or more social events for mentors, mentees and members of the participating sets of chambers.

 

The chambers participating for the academic year 2020 – 2021 are:

 

  • Blackstone Chambers

  • Brick Court Chambers

  • Essex Court Chambers

  • Fountain Court Chambers

  • One Essex Court Chambers

  • Three Verulam Buildings

 

More information

 

 Postgraduate Law Students

Vacation Scheme Programme

Graduates, postgraduates and career changers are eligible to apply for the SEO London Vacation Scheme and Training Contract Programme. This provides access to: speed networking events; exclusive open days; pre-vacation scheme training to help you convert a vacation scheme into a training contract offer; mentoring; and application guidance. 

 

More information

London Young Lawyers Group

LYLG offers a wealth of support for law students, trainees and qualified solicitors up to 7 years PQE. This includes monthly events such as careers evenings, educational seminars and networking opportunities. LYLG’s Legal Mentoring Scheme - Inspire and Be Inspired - compliments their offering where mentees and mentors can apply to be matched with others in the profession and gain access to exclusive mentoring events.

Follow their social media accounts for more information:

Instagram: @londonyounglawyers

LinkedIn: London Young Lawyers Group

 

Sign up to become a member here.

University Careers Services

The Careers Service at your university can offer a wealth of support regarding career advice, job application reviews, interview workshops and finding work experience. Many Careers Services also provide this support for many years after graduation, meaning it can be utilised in the search for a graduate job.

 

Often, Careers Services send out a weekly or monthly e-Newsletter. Check out the Careers section of your university website for more information.

Commercial Barristers

Commercial Barristers’ Chambers runs a mentoring scheme called Mentoring for Underrepresented Groups. The scheme runs between November and June and is open to all undergraduates and graduates from groups that are underrepresented at the Bar of England and Wales (and in particular the commercial bar) and who do not yet have a pupillage offer. Those underrepresented groups include women; people from minority ethnic backgrounds; people with disabilities; LGBT+ people; people who spent time in care; and people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

 

Successful applicants to join the scheme will be allocated a mentor, who will be a member of one of the participating sets of chambers. As part of the scheme, mentees will be offered:

  • Between three and five one-on-one meetings with their mentor.

  • A workshop on applications for pupillage.

  • Subject to developments in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, one or more social events for mentors, mentees and members of the participating sets of chambers.

 

The chambers participating for the academic year 2020 – 2021 are:

 

  • Blackstone Chambers

  • Brick Court Chambers

  • Essex Court Chambers

  • Fountain Court Chambers

  • One Essex Court Chambers

  • Three Verulam Buildings

 

More information

Lincoln's Inn Mentoring Scheme

This scheme is open to all student members studying the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), but is not compulsory. Students on the scheme are matched with a practising barrister, who will give advice on all aspects of a career at the Bar. It is entirely up to mentors and their students to decide how and when they meet, and there are some opportunities to meet up at Domus Dinners throughout the year.

 

Members of the Bar take part in this scheme voluntarily and are in great demand so please ensure that you intend to be fully involved in the scheme before applying.

 

More information

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