07 Feb Law Society opens applications for diversity scheme
Exceptional students’ will be rewarded for demonstrating high standards, says president
From today, the Law Society Diversity Access Scheme (DAS) is welcoming applications from aspiring solicitors trying to conquer adversity and achieve their career dreams.
DAS hopes to improve social mobility in the legal sector by supporting high-performing people who have faced exceptional social, educational, financial, or personal obstacles to qualification as a solicitor.
Law Society president Jonathan Smithers expressed delight at the announcement: ‘It takes commitment to education and training to qualify as a solicitor and it is right that high standards for entry into the profession are set.
‘This scheme supports exceptional students to meet these standards and take an enormously important step in their professional lives,’ he said.
Chancery Lane said awardees of the scheme will be offered financial assistance to undertake the legal practice course (LPC), as well as high quality work experience, a professional mentor and networking opportunities.
2015 DAS awardee Tara Woodward said receiving the award was ‘truly life changing’.
‘The Diversity Access Scheme has given me the chance to succeed in a legal career and to break the cycle of poverty and under achievement in my family, and provide a life for myself that is far from what I ever could have imagined growing up.
‘I chose to ignore the social-economic boundaries that were placed on me and persevere, but when faced with the prospect of not being able to afford the LPC, I felt as if my efforts had been wasted,’ Woodward added.
In 2015 the Law Society awarded one ‘DAS plus’ scholarship for the first time. DAS plus awardee, Claire Lathwell was supported on a training contract with the North Kensington Law Centre.
The society will be offering one DAS plus award in 2016 in addition to 10 standard awards. To date, the scheme has supported more than 160 aspiring solicitors.
Smithers added: ‘If you are a determined, ambitious law student but face challenges to qualifying as a solicitor, please consider applying to the Diversity Access Scheme.’
Applications open 3 February and close on 6 April 2016.