The legal profession is becoming more diverse and there are a growing number of opportunities for students to connect with lawyers and law firms. The listing below aims to detail as many organisations that have a diversity agenda and are committed to helping university students (nb. we have not listed organisations which work with school age students. So, there may be things you think are missing such as Prime but this is deliberate) who are BAME, LGBT+, disabled/with long term health issues or seeking social mobility to access legal* careers.
Whilst the organisations listed here all offer wonderful support you must be proactive in seeking out the opportunities available, putting yourself forward and maintaining contact. If you do this, the organisations will help to make your legal career journey easier.

The list is compiled of organisations helping students into legal careers. However, some organisations help with wider careers (usually in the “City”). As such, you will find references to other careers in the information below but it is important to note that this list has NOT attempted to detail organisations offering support in non-legal careers.

Which scheme is for me?

All organisations are listed alphabetically. Some organisations offer support in more than one area of diversity. As such, this list is simply a guide to which organisations to look at for each diversity area.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic

1 Crown Office Row
Aspiring Solicitors
Black Lawyers’ Directory (BLD)
Black Solicitors’ Network (BSN)
Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme
InterLaw Diversity Forum
KLS Professional Mentoring Scheme
Law Firms Diversity & Inclusion
London Young Lawyers Group (LYLG)
Rare Recruitment
Society of Asian Lawyers
Sponsors for Educational Opportunity / SEO London
Windsor Fellowship

 

Social Mobility

1 Crown Office Row
Aspiring Solicitors
Black Lawyers’ Directory (BLD)
City Solicitors Horizons
Guru Nanak social mobility scholarship
The Kalisher Trust
KLS Professional Mentoring Scheme
Law Firms Diversity & Inclusion
London Young Lawyers Group (LYLG)
Pegasus Access and Support Scheme
Rare Recruitment
Social Mobility Foundation
Sponsors for Educational Opportunity / SEO London
Sutton Trust Pathways to Law
UpReach
Urban Lawyers

 

Disabled & long term health conditions

Aspiring Solicitors
CITY DISABILITES
Employability
InterLaw Diversity Forum
KLS Professional Mentoring Scheme
LawCare
Law Firms Diversity & Inclusion
London Young Lawyers Group (LYLG)
Shaw Trust

 

LGBTQ+

Aspiring Solicitors
Authenticity
DiversCity in Law
InterLaw Diversity Forum
KLS Professional Mentoring Scheme
Law Firms Diversity & Inclusion
London Young Lawyers Group (LYLG)
LGBT Lawyers Division (for qualified lawyers)

 

For Professionals (all inclusive)

The organisations here may require you to be a lawyer but they are included so that you can see that there is on-going support once qualified.
Black Solicitors’ Network (BSN)
LawCare
Law Firms Diversity & Inclusion
London Young Lawyers Group (LYLG)

Financial Support

We’ve only included a few things here
Inns of Court BPTC Scholarships
LPC scholarships
The Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme (DAS)
The Kalisher Trust

Mature Students

The Kalisher Trust

 

THE ORGANISATIONS:

1 Crown Office Row

1COR offers an assessed mini-pupillage scheme targeted at socio-economically disadvantaged applicants, which guaranteed a first-round interview for pupillage to those applicants who performed well in their assessments. The assessed mini-pupillage scheme will run between June and July and provides a bursary of £150 + expenses of £150.
The scheme is open to applicants who meet the criteria which includes: attended a state school or college, able to demonstrate high academic achievement, and in at least your second year of university or a graduate.   Women and applicants from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are particularly encouraged to apply.   Applications may be submitted between November and March.
Find out more here – https://www.1cor.com/london/assessed-mini-pupillage/ 

 

Aspiring Solicitors:
The primary aim of Aspiring Solicitors is to increase diversity in the legal profession. Aspiring solicitors work with over 26 law firms and legal teams to provide events, mentoring, competitions, employability assistance and access to the legal profession. In the past students have been offered training contracts and vacation schemes through the help of Aspiring solicitors. They will support you in all areas that this directory covers. To find out more, please see the website where you are also able to sign up for their free monthly e-newsletter detailing the opportunities available.
www.aspiringsolicitors.co.uk

AuthentiCity
AuthentiCity is an annual event, supported by Stonewall, created exclusively for LGBT undergraduates looking to explore career opportunities in the City. You’ll get to speak to representatives from worldwide firms, who provide valuable insight into their work and share their experiences of being LGBT in the workplace. If you have career aspirations in Legal, Investment Banking, Professional Services, Fund Management, Insurance, Real Estate or Technology – or you simply wish to explore what these industries have to offer, then this event is for you. The event usually takes place during the summer but you can usually register in the autumn term.
https://authenticity-event.com/

Black Lawyers’ Foundation
These programmes, known as the Legal Gateway Scheme provide access to an array of career and other development opportunities that includes mentoring, training workshops, debates, work placements, training videos, inspirational and other events delivered in partnership with schools and universities across the UK and sponsored by major law firms and companies. Please see the BLD Foundation website for further information and the application process.
3 relevant programmes to highlight:

  • First Headstart (FH): This is a one day training and networking programme with the potential opportunity to visit selected law firms for work shadowing, specifically aimed at first year law and second year non-law students from ethnic minority backgrounds at universities based in the UK.
  • Legal Launch Pad (LLP): This programme, within our Legal Gateway Scheme, is primarily targeted at ethnic minority Law students and non-Law students at university.
  • Mentoring (MDBD): Role models are important. The ‘Make a Difference Be the Difference’ mentoring scheme in matches mentors and mentees.

https://bldfoundation.org/programmes.html

Black Solicitor’s Network
This is the primary representative body in England and Wales for black solicitors; its focus is the equality of access, retention and promotion of black solicitors. There is a student mentoring and training sub-committee which seeks to help student members develop their legal careers. BSN has developed and regularly hosts, in conjunction with leading firms (BBC, Jones Day, Hogan Lovells), interactive Career Workshops for undergraduate and graduate BSN members which provide insights into the recruitment process and tailored advice on applying for training contracts.

www.blacksolicitorsnetwork.co.uk

CITY DISABILITES
A free mentoring scheme for professionals and students with disabilities or long term medical conditions, who would like to join a profession in London. Their aim is to make the City a fairer, more human place for people with disabilities to pursue a career.
All of the mentors either have disabilities or medical conditions, or support colleagues who have them. They include lawyers, bankers, accountants, PAs, civil servants, consultants and more. They will mentor all types of disability, relating to both physical and mental health. They also work with employers to improve disability awareness.
The mentoring scheme for entrants to the City will support you through the process of job applications, interviews and beyond.
http://citydisabilities.org.uk/

City Solicitors Horizons
CSH is an initiative to improve access to the legal profession for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is a programme within SEO London organisation. Each intake will benefit from a 3 –year programme of comprehensive classroom and one-to-one training sessions, mentoring from lawyers, and work experience from sponsoring firms. There are eligibility conditions to fulfil (relating to state-education/commitment to the legal profession and potential).
Applications open in September each year. Check website for closing date.
http://www.citysolicitorshorizons.org/

DiversCity in Law
DiversCity is a unique recruitment event aimed at raising awareness of pursuing a legal career in the City amongst lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students at degree and postgraduate level. With the slogan ‘Now you are out, let us help you get in’ the DiversCity initiative aims to:

  •  Provide a forum to showcase the experiences of successful LGBT lawyers and dispel any misconceptions young LGBT aspiring lawyers may have;
  •  Allow students to speak first-hand to LGBT lawyers;
  •  Attract LGBT candidates into the law profession;
  •  Provide an opportunity for students to build their own personal networks;
  •  Build a pipeline of diverse talent for the participating law firms and;
  •  Ensure the law profession continues to strengthen as an LGBT friendly environment.
  •  They also have a mentoring scheme

https://diverscityinlaw.net/

EmployAbility
is dedicated to assisting students and graduates with all disabilities, including dyslexia or long term health conditions, into employment. They run an ever-expanding range of programmes for large international and UK employers, including internships and graduate recruitment, as well as offering training, events and consultancy around disability awareness and inclusion. Their client list includes many leading blue-chip as well as public sector organisations, and they match talented students to these disability inclusive employers.
This is not a law-careers specific organisation – they will help with all career areas.
https://www.employ-ability.org.uk/

 

The Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme
… is designed to address under-representation in large commercial law firms and other City institutions of black men from less privileged backgrounds. The scheme is aimed at first year law students and awards a substantial scholarship (£3.5k), mentoring, personal development and work experience.
Applications must be made by a member of KLS staff so, if you are interested in being nominated please speak with Jayne Instone, Employability & Career Development Officer (rm 110) or Sheree Palmer, Student Success Officer (rm 111). Applications are made between Jan-March each year. There is an Insight day at Freshfields in February for anyone considering attending.
https://www.freshfields.com/en-gb/about-us/responsible-business/freshfields_stephen_lawrence_scholarship/

 

Guru Nanak social mobility scholarship
The recipient of this scholarship will receive mentoring and a £4000 prize in a Bar scholarship. The aims of the scholarship is to improve access to the legal profession for financially and socially disadvantaged individuals, and to promote discourse on Sikh jurisprudence. The Bar scholarship is open to any individual who has the potential to become a barrister, can demonstrate strong commitment to the Bar, and is from a socially or financially disadvantaged background.

https://thesikhway.com/news/launch-of-4000-guru-nanak-social-mobility-scholarship

Inns of Court BPTC scholarships
There are several scholarships provided by the different Inns of Courts. The majority of scholarships are offered on a merit basis, but there are diversity focused awards and bursaries awarded on the basis of financial need too. The Queen Mothers’ Scholarship, which is intended to assist ‘outstanding candidates’; Diana, Princess of Wales, and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge scholarships: awarded to a candidate who is ‘specially deserving of financial assistance who has overcome adversity’.
Find out more on the 4 Inns of Court websites:

 

InterLaw Diversity Forum
encompasses all strands of diversity and inclusion (including LGBT+ , BAME, Disability, and social mobility). It is for all personnel in the legal sector (for both lawyers and non-lawyers).

• The InterLaw Diversity Forum holds monthly panel-discussion meetings for both the LGBT+ Network, and Race and Ethnicity (BAME) Network. They also hold a Disability Network, ENABLE
• InterLawConnect is their online mentoring programme
• The InterLaw Diversity Forum Student Lab connects high-potential diverse students across the UK with their peers, law firms, corporate, institutions, and barrister chambers.

https://www.interlawdiversityforum.org/


The Kalisher Trust

The Kalisher Trust offers placements, scholarships and intern opportunities designed to encourage students who are intending to, or already practising at the Criminal Bar. All applicants must demonstrate “exceptional promise but modest means” and will be judged against the Trust’s criteria for awards.

https://www.thekalishertrust.org/who-we-help


KLS Professional Mentoring Scheme

This Scheme aims to help students to make career choices, understand the legal working world or to navigate the application process for both work and study. The scheme consists of a network of 100+ mentors in 7 countries, drawn from both KLS alumni and Kent-based lawyers.
The mentoring relationships run from the beginning of the summer holiday until the end of the Spring term. A networking event also takes place annually in London. Many students have reported that their mentor has offered exceptional advice, introduced them to a wider network of professionals, assisted with applications and, in a few cases, offered / arranged work experience.
Applications open in Spring term – you will be notified via the Employability Bulletin. For more information speak with Jayne Instone or see: https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/klsemployability/mentoring/

 

Lawcare
supports and promotes good mental health and wellbeing in the legal community throughout the UK. They provide support and information for anyone in the legal community who is feeling the pressure of work or study, experiencing relationship or financial problems, coping with illness, dependency, bereavement, anxiety or depression.
Please note: this organisation does not specifically say that they help undergraduate students but it does say it helps those who are studying. There is lots of support within the University for support of good mental health and wellbeing and we would advise that you access this help first. But this is a good organisation to know about for the future.
https://www.lawcare.org.uk/

 

Law Firms Diversity & Inclusion Opportunities
Law firms regularly offer diversity opportunities including events with specific entry criteria. It is not possible to list all here as they may change on an annual basis. However, here are examples:

More help:
You can also find out about more opportunities on the Aspiring solicitors Diversity Directory page, on the www.LawCareers.net website and we also recommend checking the websites of any firms that you are interested in.
https://www.aspiringsolicitors.co.uk/legal-diversity-and-inclusion-directory/
https://www.lawcareers.net/MoreLaw/DiversityAccessSchemes

 

LGBT Lawyers Division
The Law Society is committed to promoting inclusion in the legal profession, reflecting the diversity of the society. The LGBT Lawyers Division is the community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) lawyers and allies. LGBT lawyers’ division work together to share expertise and experience, and celebrate the achievements of LGBT solicitors, and address current issues and challenges in a supportive environment. Membership of the LGBT is free, and is open to all solicitors and their allies. Members benefit from: specialised events and training, networking opportunities, regular e-newsletters and updates, and access to a community of LGBT lawyers.
http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/practice-management/diversity-inclusion/lgbt-lawyers-division/

 

London Young Lawyers Group
With monthly events ranging from speed networking to careers evenings, boat parties to educational seminars, LYLG connects law students, trainees and qualified solicitors. LYLG members benefit from a wide range of seminars and careers events, aimed at everyone from students to qualified lawyers. So wherever you are in your legal career, LYLG can enhance your expertise and help you progress.
https://lylg.org.uk/

 

LPC scholarships

  • BPP have got a huge range of scholarships available for their LPC students offering financial support. The eligibility requirements for the scholarships vary: some are diversity focussed or awarded on the basis of financial need, whilst others are centred on academic merit. More information about these can be found on the BPP scholarships page.
    https://www.bpp.com/students/funding-your-studies/scholarships
  • The University of Law has a number of scholarships open to LPC students. Their application process starts online, and you will need to provide certain details such as your household income and degree class (either achieved or predicted).
    https://www.law.ac.uk/postgraduate/scholarships/

The Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme (DAS)
This scholarship will pay for our LPC and, in addition to full funding, you could receive a professional mentor and work experience placements brokered by the Law Society. The application usually opens in Spring – you will be notified via the Employability Bulletin. The application and interview is rigorous but don’t be put off. If you wish to apply speak with Jayne Instone (Rm 110) for tips and possible link to previously successful applicant.
https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/law-careers/Becoming-a-solicitor/equality-and-diversity/diversity-access-scheme/

 

Pegasus Access and Support Scheme
PASS is a programme designed to support aspiring barristers who have not yet started the BPTC. It addresses concerns surrounding diversity and social mobility at the Bar by matching high-achieving students with partner chambers to undertake a mini-pupillage and receive advocacy skills development. The scheme is administered by Inner Temple and has over 60 partner chambers, from throughout England and Wales. Costs of travel and accommodation are paid for by the Inn. Applicants must meet specified eligibility criteria which is detailed on the website. Applications are made in early Autumn. Check the website for closing dates which are strict.
Extension scheme: – if you are also interested in the commercial bar COMBAR (the Commercial Bar Association) will invite you to apply for additional support including £500 bursary, a mentor and a networking opportunity (5 positions available each year)
https://www.innertemple.org.uk/becoming-a-barrister/how-to-get-involved/pass/

Rare Recruitment
Rare connects exceptional students from underrepresented backgrounds with careers in top organisations. There are a variety of programmes to help you get into law (2 programmes – one with a BME entry criteria & one socio-economic entry criteria) consulting, Civil Service and Deutsche Bank. They also have a great mentoring scheme called Discuss – see https://discusslaw.co.uk/index.html
Rare Foundations: Law is a competitive programme for 1st year students (or 2nd year if on a 4year course) interested in commercial law. The programme is run in conjunction with Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills and Hogan Lovells allowing you to get a foot in the door and start building valuable relationships with partners, associates, trainees and graduate recruitment managers at three of the world’s best law firms.
You will need AAB or equivalent at A-Level, or at least 34 IB points. Applications for Rare Foundations open in September and close in October.
www.rarerecruitment.co.uk

Shaw Trust
is a charity helping to transform the lives of young people and adults across the UK. The Shaw Trust provides employment services for disabled and disadvantaged people. This is not an organisation focused on legal careers – they are all about tailored individual support to assist you in a job hunt as well support initiatives to help you stay in work.
https://www.shaw-trust.org.uk/en-GB/About-us

 

Social Mobility Foundation
The SMF published the Social Mobility Employer Index 2018, highlighting the 50 employers taking the most action to improve social mobility in the workplace. You can see the list on their website, please check to see if any employer interest you.
http://www.socialmobility.org.uk/index/

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity / SEO London
SEO offers extensive training, mentoring and networking opportunities via two legal programmes in corporate law. There is a programme for 1st years and one for penultimate year undergraduates from ethnic minority groups currently under-represented in the City. There are also programmes in banking, consulting, professional services, Civil Service, technology and more.
The programme will help you with writing CVs, getting internships and graduate jobs, commercial awareness, presentation skills & personal branding, psychometric tests, technical skills and interviews and assessment centres
SEO interns eventually secure a full-time position with a sponsoring firm. Corporate law interns have access to senior partners at all sponsoring firms, can complete multiple placements, receive more than 60 hours of training and will be allocated a personal mentor.
APPLY: It is not clear, at the time of writing, how or when to apply for the programmes. But you can register on the website. This information will be updated when we have the answer.
https://www.seo-london.org/

 

The Society for Asian Lawyers
organises events and has a mentoring programme which is open to any member of the society. You can join for free. This society claims to be the biggest BAME lawyers’ Society in the UK representing over 2,000 members. Members encompass a cross section of the legal world and include partners in high profile city firms, leading barristers and QCs, in-house advocates, high street solicitors, legal executives, solicitor trainees, pupil barristers, students and employees in legal organisations.

http://www.societyofasianlawyers.co.uk/

Sutton Trust Pathways to Law
Pathways Plus is a two-year programme for 1st year students who attended a state school.  The programme provides you with information, advice and experience of commercial law. The programme is run in partnership with, Hogan Lovells and Linklaters with further support from Barclays, BT and Shell, the programme includes a three-day residential in London, E-mentoring from a lawyer in a partner firm, the opportunity to apply for summer work experience placements, skills workshops and commercial awareness sessions and application support for vacation schemes and training contracts.
https://www.suttontrust.com/our-programmes/pathways-to-law-plus/
The application form can be found here. The deadline for applying is Sunday 22nd December 2019 at midnight, so don’t delay!

UpReach
works to create the conditions for undergraduates from less-advantaged backgrounds to access and sustain top graduate jobs in a range of professions (please note: law is not listed as one of the selected professions on the ‘About’ page but it is one of the pathways available on the ‘Students’ page). UpReach helps students build their knowledge, soft skills and networks, and gain valuable work experience.
Support offered

  •  Free professional development programme: develop the social and cultural capital necessary for success in the graduate labour market. Skills workshops on campus to daily live video forums and dedicated ongoing 1-to-1 support
  •  Personalised support with top employers who offer exclusive opportunities
  •  Help into full time graduate employment
  •  Broaden career horizons, raise aspirations and enable you to better understand different career pathways.
  •  Professional exposure, through Insight Days and work experience programmes
  •  An experienced mentor
  •  Extensive support at every stage of application processes.
  •  UpReach Associate community – a chance to meet hundreds of other students who can share their experiences, networks and skills with you.

https://upreach.org.uk/

Urban Lawyers
is an organization that makes the law (in its academic, practical and career contexts) more accessible to marginalised groups in society. Urban Lawyers provide inspiration to law students from non-tradition backgrounds through online resources, networking, educational events and initiatives. It also provides support, finance and facilitates the education of young people about their legal rights and civic responsibilities.
http://www.urbanlawyers.co.uk/

The Windsor Fellowship
deliver personal development and leadership programmes, which enables talent from diverse communities to be realised. They also have a range of paid internships and mentoring. One of their sponsors is the Government Legal Service. The others are not law-specific but may be of interest to law students looking for alternative careers. Applicants must be from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic group.
www.windsor-fellowship.org

Other opportunities

AllAboutLaw also list some other schemes on their website. Some are not law specific but still worth looking at. See:
https://www.lawcareers.net/MoreLaw/DiversityAccessSchemes

Reading

If you’d like to find out more about Diversity in Law and what is happening. See:
http://www.chambersstudent.co.uk/where-to-start/what-are-legal-recruiters-looking-for – scroll down the to “diversity” heading. Here you will find about another 10 links to follow to some really good articles on all aspects of diversity.
The Law Society have also got lots of articles to read but I suggest that you use the links in the pale green box on the right of the screen to find out more http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/search/?q=diversity

We hope that you have found the information above useful. We’d love to hear your feedback about your experiences with any of the above organisations. Or, if you know of one that we have missed please do get in touch with Jayne Instone on klsemployability@kent.ac.uk