Aspiring lawyers from disadvantaged homes in the East Midlands to benefit from expanded programme

Aspiring lawyers from non-privileged homes in the East Midlands will benefit from a programme worth over £200,000 in an expansion of the Pathways to Law programme.

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The scheme opens up legal careers to people of all backgrounds

Aspiring lawyers from non-privileged homes in the East Midlands will benefit from a programme worth over £200,000 in an expansion of the Pathways to Law programme, a pioneering initiative bringing together Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham, the Sutton Trust, the Legal Education Foundation and the legal profession.

The programme, designed to widen access to the legal profession, will support around 150 local 14- to 18-year-olds who aspire to a career in law. For the first time, the programme - which is funded by the Legal Education Foundation and nine leading law firms - will provide support for GCSE students in Years 10 and 11, as well as throughout sixth form.

The new funding builds on the already successful provision of the programme in the East Midlands. Over the last three years, over 100 sixth form students have taken part in the programme, with many of the recent graduates going on to study law at a top university.

Josh Evans, a graduate from the Nottingham partnership programme who is currently studying law at Nottingham Trent University, commented: “Pathways to Law has helped me immeasurably. The help and advice I received whilst applying for university turned an incredibly daunting prospect into an enjoyable one. Pathways taught me so many transferable skills, many of which I use on a daily basis whilst completing my degree."

Muzammil Malamji, a current Year 13 student who will graduate from the Pathways to Law programme in July, and who holds an offer to study law at the University of Nottingham, said: “Pathways to Law has been a life-changing experience. It has offered opportunities that otherwise would have been impossible. I was born in India and brought up in a family where English wasn't our first language. Neither of my parents went to university and we had no contacts in the field of law. The opportunities that Pathways to Law has created are huge. The programme has helped me in numerous ways and allowed me to meet amazing people along the way. Not only has it had an extremely positive impact on my two years at college, but it has played a huge role in shaping my future too.”

Pathways taught me so many transferable skills, many of which I use on a daily basis whilst completing my degree.

Josh Evans, Pathways to Law graduate and Nottingham Law School student

Greater access to a wider pool of diverse talent will deliver real benefits for employers and employees alike.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust

It is vitally important that students from every background have the chance to enter the legal profession.

Jenny Holloway, Associate Dean, Nottingham Law School

The expansion of the Pathways to Law programme comes after research by the Sutton Trust found that three-quarters of top judges and 71% of top QCs were privately educated – proportions that have decreased only slightly since the 1980s. At the same time, YouGov polling of the legal industry commissioned by the Trust and PRIME revealed the benefits of addressing the problem are widely accepted. A majority (52%) of senior figures in the legal industry said that improving social mobility in the legal profession would be beneficial to their firm.

Working in partnership, Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham are able to support students in developing their career aspirations, providing insight into both the study of law and the professional practice of law. The local students selected to take part will receive a four-year programme of support including:

  • sessions at both Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University and the School of Law, University of Nottingham, which offer guidance on opportunities in the legal profession; support for applying for legal employment; help with CV and interview techniques; subject-specific revision sessions; and legal workshops. Students will have the opportunity to present in a real court room, take part in negotiation exercises to demonstrate how to reach win-win solutions, and experience Nottingham Law School’s award-winning Legal Advice Centre
  • a residential conference
  • e-mentoring from undergraduate law students and the opportunity to experience a day in the life of their mentors, with many of the mentors themselves being graduates of the Pathways to Law programme
  • work experience in the legal sector, either in a firm of solicitors, a barrister’s chambers, or in the courts
  • a trip to the Inner Temple
  • a national graduation ceremony in London.

Jenny Holloway, Associate Dean of Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, said: “The expansion of this initiative will give young people who may not have otherwise had the chance to study a law course, or to practise legal skills, the opportunity to have a legal experience which will hopefully inspire them to go on to do a law degree. It is vitally important that students from every background have the chance to enter the legal profession, and we are so pleased to be part of this exciting and innovative programme.”

Nigel White, Professor of International Law and head of the School of Law, University of Nottingham, said: “The School of Law at the University of Nottingham is delighted to be continuing its successful association with Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, the Sutton Trust and the Legal Education Foundation during the next phase of the Pathways to Law programme. It is a pleasure to help these talented students to take their first steps to a career in law.”

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, commented: “Our research has shown that there is still a big social mobility issue within the legal sector. Greater access to a wider pool of diverse talent will deliver real benefits for employers and employees alike. This is why Pathways to Law is so important. I’m delighted that our partnership with The Legal Education Foundation will enable us to expand the programme and support young people from a younger age and over four years.”

Matthew Smerdon, chief executive of the Legal Education Foundation, added: “By reaching students at an earlier stage, we hope to encourage more bright young people from poorer homes to believe that a career in law is open to them. As a society, we need to be investing in our next generation in a way that promotes equality and opportunity and it is in all our interests if the composition of the legal profession reflects the diversity of the people and organisations that it serves.”

Recruitment for Year 10 and Year 12 pupils will begin in August 2016.

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Helen Breese, Media Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8751, or via email.

    1. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 170 research studies and funded and evaluated programmes that have helped hundreds of thousands of young people of all ages, from early years through to access to the professions.

    2. Pathways to Law is funded by the Legal Education Foundation, The Law Society, and nine law firms. These are: Allen & Overy, Ashurt, Clifford Chance, Cooley, DLA Piper, Eversheds, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters, Macfarlanes, and Mayer Brown.

    3. The Legal Education Foundation was set up to promote the advancement of legal education and the study of law. It was created in 2012 with the monies received from the sale of the College of Law.

    4. The Legal Advice Centre at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University won two prestigious awards at the recent LawWorks & Attorney General Student Awards; The Access to Justice Foundation Award, recognising the work of individuals and education bodies in promoting and supporting access to justice and charities which provide pro bono services; and the Best Contribution by a Law School award, recognising all the activities undertaken and the innovative use Alternative Business Structures.

    5. Pathways Plus supports non-privileged law students during their degree through e-monitoring, residential courses, and help securing work experience.

    6. PRIME is an alliance of 89 law firms and legal departments across the UK who have made a commitment to broaden access to the legal professions. PRIME firms offer work experience to young people from less privileged backgrounds who might otherwise not have the opportunity to access careers in the legal world. Since its establishment in September 2011, PRIME has provided high-quality work experience to almost 4,000 young people, significantly exceeding the target of 2,500 by 2015.

    7. The Sutton Trust’s Leading People 2016 report maps the educational backgrounds of leading figures in ten areas: the military, medicine, politics, civil service, journalism, business, law, music, film, and Nobel Prizes.

Aspiring lawyers from disadvantaged homes in the East Midlands to benefit from expanded programme

Published on 20 May 2016
  • Category: Press; Nottingham Law School

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