Fifteen aspiring solicitors have been awarded a scholarship to help them qualify by the Law Society of England and Wales’ Diversity Access Scheme (DAS).
DAS aims to improve social mobility in the profession by supporting those who face exceptional social, educational, financial or personal obstacles to become solicitors
To date, the scheme has helped nearly 250 aspiring solicitors kickstart their legal careers.
Law Society President I Stephanie Boyce said: “In recognition of the increased need for funding we are thrilled to welcome fifteen new students on to the Diversity Access Scheme and support them in becoming solicitors. I am grateful to our sponsors, the Legal Education Trust and others who have made this all possible.
“I hugely admire DAS scholars’ achievements in the face of great challenges – some previous awardees have even escaped oppressive regimes.
The President added that the legal profession must reflect the diversity of the society it represents.
“I encourage any aspiring solicitor who is facing particular challenges on their way to qualification to consider applying for a place on the Diversity Access Scheme in future years.”
One of the 2021 DAS awardees Erica San said: “Becoming a legal aid lawyer has become increasingly difficult in recent years, as there exists little funding for the expensive routes to qualification, yet increasing competition.
“There is an expectation in this area that candidates should gain experience, yet most opportunities are unpaid. This means that the legal aid profession is becoming less and less representative of the people it serves.
“After securing a training contract at a legal aid firm without the means to fund my LPC, I was at a loss as to how I could fund this course myself. I am grateful to the Law Society for awarding me the DAS scholarship, as this removed the final hurdle between me and qualifying as a solicitor.
“I am excited and honoured to become part of the DAS community, and I hope that I will be able to work with the Law Society to promote social mobility, diversity and inclusion in the profession,” she said.