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Support in Northern Ireland

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 a legal career. 

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.


 Prospective 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. 

Clifford Chance ACCESS 

Clifford Chance’s ACCESS programme is a two-year development scheme for Lower Sixth 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.

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 13; 

  • 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.

 Undergraduate Law Students

Aspiring Solicitors
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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+.


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.

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. 


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

The Corporate Law Academy
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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.  

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.

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 and Capita.

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.

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