Support in Scotland
A wealth of support programmes and mentoring opportunities are available to prospective and undergraduate law students from less advantaged 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, so they also make a great CV-enhancer.
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.
The Reach Programme is aimed at school pupils in S4 - S6 who have the passion and academic ability to pursue a degree in law, medicine, dentistry or veterinary.
It involves various skills sessions and a residential trip to the University of Glasgow to experience a taste of university life in your chosen subject. Successful completion of the programme also means pupils will benefit from adjusted entry requirements to their chosen course, although it does not guarantee a place on the course.
Top Up Programme
Top-Up takes place in select West of Scotland secondary schools.
S5 and S6 pupils take part in 3 block or 5 double in-school sessions between November and March, helping you to develop essential study skills. You will also attend a campus visit during February or March when you take part in a lecture, seminar and workshop.
Participants also complete a written assignment
from a choice of five academic subjects.
Successful completion of the programme also means pupils will benefit from adjusted entry requirements to their chosen course, although it does not guarantee a place on the course.
Clifford Chance ACCESS
Clifford Chance’s ACCESS programme is a two-year development scheme for S5 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 S5;
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 Higher 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 B passes at National 5, 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 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
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.
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.
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
exclusive work experience opportunities and events
The Law Society of Scotland offers two mentoring schemes: career development; and student – trainee. The former provides support for students, graduates, trainees and solicitors. The latter provides support from trainee solicitors for students. The mentoring relationship lasts for around 12 months.
Your mentor will receive training to ensure they can create a constructive and effective relationship which will help you reach your career goals.
To be a mentee, you must be either:
A current trainee, accredited paralegal or solicitor
Former Scottish solicitor
LLB or Diploma student/graduate and a registered student associate
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 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