The College of Law is to launch an Alumni Bursary Fund to enable it to further expand its charitable activities aimed at boosting diversity in the legal profession.
Plans for the new fund, which will allow members of the College’s Alumni Association to contribute towards the innovative Pathways to Law widening participation scheme, were announced at an alumni event on Tuesday (October 26).
The £3m Pathways to Law scheme currently supports A-Level students from disadvantaged backgrounds keen to enter the legal profession. The bursary fund will allow it to be extended to give financial support to former Pathways students as they progress from university into professional legal education at The College of Law.
The Alumni Association event, held at the College’s London Moorgate centre, marked three successful years of the association, which now has almost 12,000 members.
Speakers at The College of Law’s Alumni Association event: (L – R) Richard de Friend, Chair of The College of Law’s Academic Board; Prof Nigel Savage, Chief Executive of The College of Law; Linda Lee, President of The Law Society; Prof Sara Chandler, Pro Bono Coordinator, The College of Law
It also celebrated the impact of the College’s charitable activities and the contribution of its alumni and partner law firms to their success. As well as Pathways to Law these include 10 years of pro bono work at the College.
Speakers at the event were Linda Lee, President of The Law Society and alumnus of the College’s York centre, alongside College of Law chief executive Prof Nigel Savage, Richard de Friend, Chair of the College’s Academic Board and Prof Sara Chandler, College pro bono coordinator. More than 100 alumni attended as well as high-profile supporters of the College’s pro bono activities, including Lord Phillips of Sudbury.
Pathways to Law was established by the College in conjunction with The Sutton Trust and targets state school pupils, who are the first generation of their family to attend university. It is backed by major universities, law firms and The Law Society and provides a varied programme of lectures, seminars and e-mentoring throughout the students’ A-Level years, plus an invaluable placement with a law firm.
Speaking at the event Linda Lee said: “The Law Society is a proud partner of Pathways to Law. It has been an amazing success and opened doors for many young people. The establishment of a College Alumni Bursary Fund and the widening of the Pathways scheme will help to ensure that the legal profession better reflects the society that we serve.
”A message of support for the new bursary fund by a fellow alumnus of the College’s York centre, Baroness Warsi of Dewsbury, Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister without Portfolio, was also read out at the event.
She said: “I am very pleased that you have chosen to highlight issues of access and diversity in the legal profession. This is something which really matters to me. We need to do much more to break down the barriers and smash the glass ceilings which hold back many aspiring young lawyers at the moment – and we all need to play our part.
“I am delighted that The College of Law has been focusing on this through the Pathways to Law initiative and I hope that this event will inspire more alumni to give their support to the scheme.”
Prof Nigel Savage added: “A recent survey of our alumni members indicated that there was backing for a scheme to enable alumni to give financial support to help widen Pathways to Law. Since Pathways was set up in 2007 more than 1,100 students have benefitted and the new Alumni Bursary Fund will help us to extend that support as students continue their journey into the legal profession.”