Aspiring lawyers from disadvantaged backgrounds to take part in scheme

A programme has been announced by Aston University in partnership with law firm Shoosmiths to support aspiring lawyers from under-represented backgrounds.

The Pathways to Law will begin in September 2022 with up to 30 Year 12 students taking part in the 18-month programme to develop key skills in preparation for studying for a law degree.

Aston University will host advice and guidance sessions as well as law taster sessions alongside Shootsmiths having three core events: ‘Routes into Law’, ‘Professional Skills and Employability’ and a networking event.

In November 2021, the government made an announcement about its plans for improving access, participation and outreach initiatives and wants more work-style pathways from universities, schools and companies in the West Midlands.

Saskia Loer Hansen, the Interim Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, said: “Research by the UK government’s Social Mobility Commission shows that even when those from working-class backgrounds gain access to professional occupations, they go on to earn an average of £6,000 less per year than colleagues from more advantaged backgrounds, a ‘class pay gap’ that persists even when they have the same education, training and experience.

“We hope that initiatives like this will help close the class pay gap further.”

Victoria Potts, Associate at Shoosmiths who is leading on the creation and delivery of the programme said: “We are keen to develop a pathway which widens the social profile of candidates in the legal profession and is representative of the community it serves.

“These activities will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students and will help level the playing field for their progression into higher education and the legal profession.”