Diversity Access Scheme celebrates landmark 20 years

The Law Society of England and Wales is celebrating 20 years since its landmark Diversity Access Scheme (DAS) began and invites talented aspiring solicitors to apply for the 2024 cohort.

DAS aims to help improve social mobility and diversity in the legal profession by supporting people who face social, educational, financial or personal obstacles to qualifying as a solicitor.

To date, the scheme has supported nearly 300 talented trainees to pursue their career ambitions.

It is open to those looking to complete the Legal Practice Course or the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) who need help with funding, accessing real work experience opportunities or meaningful mentoring and might otherwise struggle to get the support they need to succeed.

Data gathered by the Law Society shows that 69% of the last five cohorts* secured a training contract. From the last 20 years, 88% of DAS awardees are working as solicitors and 6% are working as a partner.

“I am delighted to mark the start of our celebrations of two decades since the Diversity Access Scheme began,” said Law Society president Nick Emmerson.

“We have had the pleasure of supporting aspiring solicitors into their chosen field and we have watched our alumni with great interest as they embark on their careers.

“We will be celebrating their achievements throughout the year and will be hosting an event later this year.

“Among our DAS alumni are care leavers and people who came to the UK having fled oppressive regimes.

“I encourage any aspiring solicitor who is facing particular challenges on their way to qualification to consider applying for a place on the scheme this year.

“Schemes like DAS do so much good to provide financial relief, open doors to prospective employers and enable aspiring solicitors to pursue their chosen career.

“The Law Society looks forward to welcoming around 15 new awardees onto DAS this year and helping them launch a highly rewarding career in the law.”

Robert Dudley, head of employability and engagement of one our sponsors, BARBRI, said: “Following the incredible success of our past three scholars and recognising the importance of increasing diversity into the profession, BARBRI is delighted to once again be supporting the Law Society DAS initiative as it celebrates its 20 year anniversary of breaking down barriers to a more inclusive profession.”

Dr Giles Proctor, CEO of The College of Legal Practice, and one of our sponsors, said: “Congratulations to the Law Society on running the Diversity Access Scheme for 20 years, and supporting so many aspiring solicitors with their legal careers.

“We are delighted to be a part of such an important scheme and be able to play a role in increasing access to the solicitor profession. Social mobility and representation are a crucial part of the College’s ethos and values and we look forward to supporting more SQE students achieve their career ambitions through this valued scheme.”

Christopher Hutton, social mobility partner sponsor at Hogan Lovells, and one of our sponsors, said: “We are proud to support the DAS, and it is wonderful to see it celebrating 20 years. The financial, work experience and network building mentoring support are the tangible solutions needed to open the door for prospective lawyers from underrepresented communities with so much to give to our profession to launch their careers.”

Notes to editors

Recruitment is open from 28 February to 13 April 2024.

Find out more about the Diversity Access Scheme

Find out how to support the Diversity Access Scheme

Find out about the SQE

* Data taken from cohorts 2018-2022 (the last five years). The 88% and 6% figures are taken from tracked alumni over the last 20 years.

All inquiries about the scheme from potential participants or sponsors can be sent to Leila Lesan.

The Diversity Access Scheme is sponsored by:

  • NatWest Legal
  • Withers LLP
  • Kingsley Napley
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Sackers
  • Nottingham Law School
  • BPP Law School
  • The University of Law
  • QLTS School
  • The College of Legal Practice
  • The University of Law
  • University of Westminster
  • UBS

For interviews with alumni, contact Naomi Jeffreys (contact details below).

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Naomi Jeffreys | 020 8049 3928

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