BPP drops legal aid scholarship as it consolidates offering

BPP Law School has revamped its scholarship package, simplifying a number of different awards into three Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course ‘Career Guarantee’ scholarships.

In the process the school has discontinued the Legal Aid Scholarship that it introduced after lobbying from a student.

Laura Wrixon, a University of Essex graduate and former legal researcher, was granted a bursary and a place at BPP by dean Peter Crisp, after she blogged on Lawyer 2B about the difficulties of breaking into human rights law in the wake of the discontinuation of the National College of Legal Training’s less expensive GDL and LPC.

After completing her studies, Wrixon successfully persuaded BPP to provide similar opportunities for students like her by launching the scholarship.

On Twitter last week, she asked BPP why the scholarship has been removed from the website.

Wrixon responded:

Speaking to Lawyer 2B, Wrixon, now a trainee at Simpson Millar, said: “I’m very disappointed that the Legal Aid Scholarship seems to have been withdrawn. This was a scholarship introduced to fund the full LPC fees for an aspiring legal aid lawyer. I had the benefit of a full scholarship, without which I would not have been able to pursue a career in legal aid. I am now fortunate enough to be training at a fantastic firm doing legal aid work that I love. I am very concerned that there is now no specific funding for people who are in the same position I was: keen to work in legal aid but without independent means or funding from their firm to do the LPC.”

I actually discovered the Legal Aid Scholarship had been withdrawn because an aspiring legal aid lawyer contacted me on LinkedIn to let me know that she had been hoping to apply for the scholarship but having visited BPP’s website, found that it was no longer available. She has experience in legal aid and is committed to working with vulnerable people, but is unable to progress as she cannot afford the extortionate LPC fees. It is almost impossible to self-fund on a junior legal aid salary, and very few legal aid firms are able to offer financial support to their paralegals/trainees.”

“Without a proper scholarship scheme many aspiring legal aid lawyers will be left unable to pursue their chosen career, and the legal aid sector will find it increasingly difficult to recruit quality young lawyers.”

Last week, The Law Society published a heat map of Britain highlighting the UK’s legal aid deserts.

BPP has been contacted for comment. Its Career Guarantee scholarships are worth up to £3,000 each. They are merit-based, students required to demonstrate academic excellence and a clear commitment towards a career within the legal profession.