Diversity boost for legal profession

Talented trainee lawyers are invited to apply for a place on the profession’s Diversity Access Scheme (DAS), the Law Society said as it opened recruitment for the 2019 cohort of scholars.

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

To date, the scheme has supported more than 200 aspiring solicitors to pursue their career ambitions.

Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said: ‘To thrive, our profession needs committed solicitors from diverse backgrounds. The Law Society looks forward to welcoming up to 10 new trainees onto the Diversity Access Scheme to support them in realising their ambitions.

‘I am enormously proud of previous alumni. DAS scholars have resisted coercion into arranged marriage, escaped oppressive regimes and achieved academic success while dealing with highly challenging disabilities.

‘I encourage any aspiring solicitor who is facing particular challenges on their way to qualification to consider applying for a place on the Diversity Access Scheme.’

In addition to financial assistance to undertake their Legal Practice Course, the scheme offers awardees relevant high-quality work experience, a professional mentor and networking opportunities.

DAS Awardee Peter De Biasio, who is doing his training contract with the Law Society under the scheme, said: ‘Growing up in a deprived area of south East London, hardly attending school, being dyslexic, occasionally finding myself in trouble with the authorities, becoming homeless. All this meant I thought being the first person in my family to attend any form of higher learning was the furthest I might get in my education.

‘The DAS has provided me with not only assistance financially but also the essential confidence and reassurance required to demonstrate to myself I may be able to achieve things I would never have imagined.

‘I sit typing this from my desk as the (first) DAS trainee solicitor in the Legal Services Department of the Law Society.

‘I get to work on and be included in such matters as judicial reviews, Supreme court interventions and representation in cases the Society has been asked to be involved with, along with handling the internal legal queries and issues of the Society itself. I couldn’t have hoped for a better start to my career.’

Recruitment to the Diversity Access Scheme is open from 4 February until 6 April 2019. Find out more about the scheme.

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