March 8, 2022
Lucie Brooks-Francis explains what the Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme entails, who’s eligible, and how you can apply.

The Diversity Access Scheme at the Law Society has already supported hundreds of students and has just opened again to help a further 15 to 20 students this year with their LPC or SQE preparation course/assessments either in Autumn 2022 or January/February 2023.

The scheme welcomes applications from students from all underrepresented groups including disabled students, those from Black or other ethnic minority backgrounds, LGBT+ students and those who have faced significant challenges to pursing their education and career.

What Is The Diversity Access Scheme?

The Diversity Access Scheme helps talented, aspiring solicitors to pursue their legal education and careers through three avenues different avenues:

  • Finance – The DAS works to award scholarships covering both the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) course fees
  • Mentoring – The scheme supports the pursuit of the solicitor profession through matching successful candidates with a qualified solicitor mentor
  • Work experience – DAS also awards successful applicants with high quality, paid placements brokered through the Law Society

These opportunities all focus on developing the skillset and subsequent employability of successful candidates, which will be invaluable when it comes to building a successful career.

How Does Mentoring And Work Experience Happen?

Successful candidates will be matched with a professional mentor and gain work experience in a practice area of interest during studies. This experience not only presents an opportunity to build your CV, improve your employability and develop your network, but also a chance to enhance your understanding of the solicitor profession. The knowledge you’ll gain from this will support you through various decisions regarding your career path.

The scheme is also introducing soft skill support sessions delivered though The Law Society’s careers team and DAS sponsors that focus on improving employability and applications. These sessions will include:

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Applications Are Open

Find out more & apply now on the Law Society Website

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Who Is Eligible To Apply?

The Diversity Access Scheme welcomes applications from students from all backgrounds and of all ages, as long as you meet the following criteria.

To be eligible you must not:

  • Have access to familial loans or financial gifts
  • Have more than £5,000 in your savings account, current account, ISA or held elsewhere

You must also meet two of these criteria:

  • Have attended a non-fee paying school
  • Be part of the first generation of your family to attend higher education
  • Be eligible for free school meals whilst at school

Please note that the Law Society says that even if you don’t meet the above criteria, you may still be eligible to apply to
the scheme if you face, or have faced, exceptional circumstances in pursuing your legal education or career. These circumstances could be a result of a wide range of factors such as your cultural background, health problems, disability, sex, gender identity, sexuality, race, religion, or any other challenging personal circumstance.

You can see the full list of eligibility criteria on the Law Society website – and see some examples of what they mean by ‘exceptional circumstances’.

How Can I Apply?

Applications are open until midnight on 20th April 2022. It’s important to note that no extenuating circumstances will be considered in the case of late submissions, so please ensure your application is submitted with plenty of time.

To apply, you need to complete an online application form in full. Following this, shortlisted candidates will be notified of a scheduled assessment and interview with the judging panel, which will last around 30 minutes. Interviews will take place between 14-16 July 2022 and all shortlisted candidates must be available for their interview within this timeframe.

The final decision will be advised by 5pm 25 July 2022.

You can get application guidance from the Law Society website.

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