The Law Society Charity says more needs to be done to open the profession up to a wider, more diverse talent pool, as the Law Society opens applications for the Diversity Access Scheme.
The Society’s scheme, which is supported by the Law Society Charity, is just one initiative led by the Society to create a more diverse profession from a wider pool of talent. The Law Society Charity, however, says that more needs to be done.
Law Society Charity chairman, Nigel Dodds, says:
“The Diversity Access Scheme, as well as other Society initiatives, such as the Diversity and Inclusion Charter, is essential in ensuring the profession uncovers the best available talent out there.
“The scheme has an immediate impact on the lives of those who it is designed to help and as always, we expect a huge number of applications for the scheme only a few of which will be successful in securing full scholarships.
“Funding for more places is the only way we can respond to the demand. There are many candidates who have shown great potential and outstanding commitment to a career in the face of very difficult circumstances who would be a credit to the profession, yet we will be forced to turn many away simply because we do not have enough funds to give them a place on the scheme.
“For those who are successful in securing a spot on the scheme it is a lifeline for their ambition to become a solicitor when all other options have been exhausted, and a chance for the profession to extend its reach in the search for the best talent available.”
The Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme supports promising entrants to the solicitors’ profession who would not only otherwise be financially excluded from pursuing their legal studies but who have also overcome a variety of exceptional social, educational, or personal obstacles. Previous alumni of the scheme have experienced for example homelessness, physical and emotional abuse, and severely interrupted studies as the result of long term chronic health conditions.
The DAS has been designed to provide not only financial backing to successful candidates, but also valuable networking and other opportunities which are needed to make it in what is a competitive profession
The scheme is just one initiative developed by the Law Society to make the profession more inclusive and accessible. As well as the flagship Diversity and Inclusion Charter, Law Society President Robert Heslett hosted a dinner on Tuesday to discuss the issues surrounding the recommendations that emerged from the report published by the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions. The Chair of the Panel Alan Milburn MP attended the dinner, as did a number of key stakeholders from the profession, academia and education sector.
For more information about the scheme including details of how to donate visit