Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) announced today
(6 December 2021) the launch of a national fund 'to improve social mobility within the legal profession, address the recruitment and retention crisis faced by the social welfare and legal aid sector and as a result improve access to justice for those who need it most'. It seeks to use the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) to provide the next generation of qualified social welfare solicitors.
Over a dozen city law firms have agreed to donate over £100,000 to the fund, developed by the City of London Law Society
, BARBRI and YLAL in consultation with the Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG), Law Centres Network and The Legal Education Foundation. It will provide grant funding for both the BARBRI SQE preparatory course and the SQE 1 and 2 exams for more than a dozen individuals.
Chris Minnoch, CEO of LAPG, said: 'This scheme will be of enormous benefit to our member organisations and to those seeking to qualify into social welfare law. It will also greatly benefit clients - many of whom will not be able to access the legal help they so desperately need without initiatives such as this to address the recruitment and retention crisis engulfing the legal aid sector.'
Applications to the fund are now open until 17 January 2022. For further information, contact: YLALSQEfund@gmail.com