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Suzanne Townley

News Editor, Solicitors Journal

Diversity access scheme applications open for future trainees

Diversity access scheme applications open for future trainees


Applications to the scheme close on 20 April 2022

Future trainee solicitors may apply for a place on the profession’s 2022 Diversity Access Scheme (DAS) from today (23 February 2022),

DAS aims to help improve social mobility and diversity in the legal profession by supporting people who face exceptional social, educational, financial or personal obstacles to qualifying as a solicitor. The scheme has so far supported more than 260 awardees pursue a career in law.

The DAS is sponsored by numerous well known businesses, firms and law schools, including: Natwest Legal; BARBRI SQE Prep; Withers LLP; Kingsley Napley; Hogan Lovells; Sackers; Nottingham Law School; BPP Law School; The University of Law; University of Westminster and UBS.

The scheme is open to those looking to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) who need help with funding, access to real work experience opportunities or meaningful mentoring, who might otherwise struggle to get the support they need to succeed.Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “For our profession to thrive, we need talented individuals from diverse backgrounds. I encourage any aspiring solicitor who is facing particular challenges on their way to qualification to consider applying for a place on the scheme”.

Boyce added: “I’m immensely proud of our DAS scholars. They have each faced particular challenges to qualification. Many are from less advantaged backgrounds, almost a third are disabled, and over two-fifths are Black, Asian or minority ethnic. Among them are care-leavers and people who came to the UK having fled oppressive regimes.

“The Law Society looks forward to welcoming at least 15 new awardees onto the Diversity Access Scheme this year and helping them launch a highly rewarding career in the law.”

2021 DAS awardee Bethany Hall commented: “I was told that attending university was a bad idea due to the financial difficulties that I would encounter. Despite this, I pursued an undergraduate law degree and worked alongside my studies in order to fund myself through the three years.

“Although studying law made me realise that I did not fit into the mould of a stereotypical lawyer, this made me more determined to become a solicitor in the future. However, my plans to study the LPC came to a standstill once I was placed on furlough during the final year of my undergraduate degree.

“Alongside the financial support awarded by the DAS, the confidence boost and opportunities on top of that is second to none. With the support of the Law Society and mentors from a top law firm, obtaining a career in law no longer seems so daunting.”

Applications are open from 23 February 2022 until 20 April 2022. More information about the scheme may be found here. Enquiries from potential participants or sponsors may be directed to Leila Lesan.