The Law Society Diversity Access Scheme is offering ten LPC scholarships in 2018.
What is it?
Since 2004 the Law Society has run a Diversity Access Scheme (DAS), providing a bursary for students to fund their fees for the Legal Practice Course (LPC), as well as work experience and mentoring support. There are ten awards of up to the full cost of the LPC (£15,000) covering the full costs of the LPC (but not living costs).
Since 2015 the Law Society has also offered the 'DAS Plus' award, providing a guaranteed training contract with a Law Centre to one extra applicant (who is already volunteering or working there). However, the Law Society is not running DAS Plus in 2018 – it will be running it every other year.
How do I get it?
In 2018, the application window for DAS closes at midnight on Sunday 8 April for those able to start the LPC in 2018.
The scheme is aimed at promoting social mobility and diversity in the profession, so it's a requirement that candidates:
- do not have access to any family loans or savings/investments of less than £5,000, but can support their own living costs (ie you need to have a job, can get a loan or live with your parents);
- did not attend a fee-paying school or are part of the first generation in their family to go to university or received free school meals;
- can show that they have faced or will face in their career exceptional challenging circumstances as a result of cultural background, health, disability, gender, sexuality, race, religion, or other extreme personal circumstances. (These circumstances have to be genuinely personal – eg fleeing from a war zone, suffering from a severe illness or growing up in a house with domestic violence.)
The application form also contains two short questions asking why you want to be a solicitor and to discuss a recent news story relevant to an area of law you find interesting. There's also an essay question, which in 2018 relates to the gender pay gap.
What does it get me?
As well as LPC sponsorship a DAS award means the Law Society will arrange a guaranteed period of work experience if you want it. Stints are set up based on what each scholarship recipient is interested in. So you might do a vac scheme at a firm which sponsors the scheme like Eversheds or Withers, or spend time with a more specialised outfit like the Crown Prosecution Service.
What about life after DAS? Recent DAS scholars have gone on to secure traineeships with law firms Withers, Foot Anstey, Clintons, Greenaway Scott and Hanne & Co as well as in-house with construction company Bouygues.
Find out more about the Diversity Access Scheme and all the application requirements for the scheme by going to the Law Society's website.