Aspiring lawyers from poorer homes to benefit from 1M programme

Thousands of aspiring lawyers from non-privileged homes will benefit from a £1m expansion of the Sutton Trust’s Pathways to Law programme, a pioneering initiative designed to widen access to the legal profession. For the first time, the programme, which is funded by the Legal Education Foundation, nine leading law firms and the partner universities, including the University of Leicester,  will provide support for GCSE students in years 10 and 11, as well as throughout sixth form.

Today’s announcement comes after research by the Sutton Trust found that three-quarters of top judges and 71% of top QCs were privately educated – proportions that have decreased only slightly since the 1980s. At the same time, YouGov polling of the legal industry commissioned by the Trust and PRIME revealed the benefits of addressing the problem are widely accepted. A majority (52%) of senior figures in the legal industry said that improving social mobility in the legal profession would be beneficial to their firm.

Pathways to Law, targeted at academically able pupils from non-privileged homes, will be delivered by 12 partner universities across the country, including four new universities who have joined the programme this year:  University of Roehampton, Queen Mary University of London, University of Leicester, and University of Liverpool.

The 1,800 students will receive a four year programme of support including:

  • Sessions at their host university with help applying for training contracts, CV and interview techniques, subject-specific revision sessions and legal workshops
  • A residential conference
  • E-mentoring from undergraduate law students
  • Work experience in the legal sector
  • A trip to the Inner Temple and Royal Courts of Justice
  • A national graduation ceremony in London
  •  Many also receive further help and access to internships during their university course