• College of Law Joins Forces with Bristol University to Increase Access to Legal Profession for Under-Privileged Students

    2 December 2009


    The College of Law has announced a new partnership with Bristol University to expand its innovative ‘Pathways to Law’ scheme to the South West.

    The £1.5m scheme aims to widen access to the legal profession by providing advice and mentoring to young people from state schools in England, who are interested in a career in law and will be the first generation of their family to attend university.

    It was set up in 2007 by The College of Law and The Sutton Trust and already works with five partner universities, Leeds, LSE, Manchester, Southampton and Warwick. The University of Bristol will come on board as a partner when the College opens its new Bristol centre in September 2010.

    Professor David Clarke, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bristol, said: “We are delighted to be working with The College of Law to support the Sutton Trust scheme. It is important that more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are given the chance to enter the legal profession.

    “The University’s Law School is one of the most successful in the UK with an international reputation for teaching and research. We hope that by sharing these resources the students will reap the benefits of the scheme."

    Professor David Clarke, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol announces the new ‘Pathways to Law’ partnership with The College of Law

    Professor David Clarke, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol announces the new ‘Pathways to Law’ partnership with The College of Law

    Since its inception nearly 800 students from across the country have been accepted onto the two-year Pathways to Law programme, which runs throughout their A-level years (Years 12 and 13). The students attend lectures, seminars and advice and guidance sessions held by the partner universities and regional centres of the College.

    They also each have a three- to five-day placement in a law firm, giving them valuable insights and contacts with the legal profession that they may not otherwise have had access to, they attend a three-day national conference at the University of Warwick and are assigned a current university law student as a mentor.

    In July the first cohort of students to graduate from the scheme were presented with certificates by Attorney General, The Rt. Hon the Baroness Scotland QC during a ceremony at The Law Society in London.

    Nigel Savage, Chief Executive of The College of Law, said: “The College is an educational charity and through the Pathways to Law scheme, we will be working with Bristol University to provide opportunities for young people to work in the legal sector. We are now calling on schools and law firms from the region to work with us on the scheme."

    The expansion of Pathways to Law to the South West was discussed at a recent event to celebrate the College’s forthcoming arrival in Bristol, which took place at law firm Clarke Willmott’s Bristol office.

    It was hosted by Clarke Willmott partner and College of Law alumni, Jane Oakland and attended by alumni from across the region, including Senior Partners from Clarke Willmott, Bond Pearce, Osborne Clarke, Bevan Brittan LLP, Beachcroft LLP, Veale Wasbrough and Lyons Davidson.

    Some of the first Pathways to Law graduates at the graduation ceremony held at The Law Society in July

    Some of the first Pathways to Law graduates at the graduation ceremony held at The Law Society in July

    David Sedgwick, Chief Executive at Clarke Willmott, said: “As a firm, we have excellent links with The College of Law and therefore we are pleased to support the new Bristol centre, which will nurture and encourage talent in the region. I am also passionate about providing opportunities for young people from all walks of life to enter the profession and am therefore very keen to work alongside the College on the Pathways to Law scheme and I hope that many other firms in the region will follow suit."

    The College is the leading provider of professional legal education and training in Europe with centres in London, Birmingham, Chester, Guildford, Manchester and York.

    Its most recent regional investments include a new £5.5m centre in Manchester and a £5.5m extension of its Birmingham centre, which both opened in September, as well as a £2m renovation of its Chester centre, completed last year.

    For more information visit Pathways to Law.

    Further information

    Contact Lucy Wray, Press Officer, The College of Law on 01483 216072 (lucy.wray@lawcol.co.uk).