At the beginning of February 2019, the profession’s Diversity Access Scheme (DAS) opened for recruitment for the 2019 cohort of scholars.
This is a brand new scheme that aims to improve social mobility and diversity in the workplace by supporting people who face social, educational, financial or personal obstacles when trying to qualify as a lawyer. The process of qualification for an aspiring lawyer can seem tough, but the scheme has supported more than 200 aspiring solicitors to date.
The Law Society is encouraging any aspiring solicitor who may be facing particular challenges on their way to qualification to consider applying for a place on the Diversity Access Scheme. There is certain criterion that needs to be met in order to apply for the scheme, including financial criteria, certain backgrounds and exceptional circumstances.
Whatever the obstacles students may have faced, all students who are successful on the course have shown tenacity and commitment to furthering their career and the academic skills to become solicitors.
The scheme is a scholarship for young aspiring lawyers that offers financial assistance for pupils to undertake their Legal Practice Course and then offers relevant, high-quality work experience and a mentor who can answer questions about starting a career, alongside networking opportunities. These extra areas of work experience could be extremely helpful to a newly qualified lawyer or an individual seeking a training contract, trying to stand out from the crowd.
One student who is currently doing his training contract with the Law Society under this very scheme has confirmed that he grew up in a deprived area, suffering with dyslexia and eventually became homeless. The Diversity Access Scheme has provided him with the financial assistance he needed, along with the confidence and reassurance he required in the world of law.
This scheme is not for everyone but is there to provide opportunities for young aspiring lawyers that would otherwise not be able to complete the professional course. Law firms across the country are sponsoring the DAS to help improve social mobility and diversity in the workplace.
The Law Society website provides more information about the scheme and the specific criteria needed to apply- https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/law-careers/becoming-a-solicitor/equality-and-diversity/diversity-access-scheme/
Courtney Hawkins, Trainee Solicitor