Jean-Yves Gilg

Editor, Solicitors Journal

Firms back future champions of social justice

Firms back future champions of social justice


Regional heavyweights partner with host organisations to enhance social welfare law

Regional heavyweights partner with host organisations to enhance social welfare law

UK law firms have shown their commitment to social justice by helping to fund aspiring social welfare lawyers.

The Legal Education Foundation (TLEF), a grant-making charity, is offering 11 training contracts on its 2016 Justice First Fellowship (JFF) scheme.

Eversheds, Gowling WLG, Hogan Lovells, and Shakespeare Martineau have all co-funded a fellowship at Birmingham Community Law Centre. Hogan Lovells has also co-funded a fellowship at the Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit.

The TLEF chief executive, Matthew Smerdon, said: 'The aim of the fellowship scheme is to create future leaders in social welfare law, who are true champions of social justice. The calibre of our existing fellows is exceptional. They are already making an impact, and we expect the 2016 intake to be equally brilliant.'

Children's Law Centre, Clan Childlaw, Islington Law Centre, Just for Kids Law, Norfolk Community Law Service, RCJ Advice, South West London Law Centres, and TA Law are also offering fellowships.

A spokesperson for TA Law said: 'TA Law are delighted to be hosting a trainee solicitor with the support of the Justice First Fellowship. As a social welfare law firm committed to supporting the most vulnerable members of society, we believe that training the lawyers of the future is a vital part of our role, and are happy that TLEF are enabling us to do so.'

The JFF scheme was launched by TLEF in 2014 and will welcome its third intake of fellows in January 2017, taking the total to 31. The inaugural 2014 intake will also qualify as solicitors in January 2017.

However, there is no guarantee a host organisation will be able to offer fellows employment beyond the length of the two-year training contract.

To be considered, applicants must have passed the legal practice course and have proven their commitment to social justice. The closing date for applications is 20 September.