LSC stumps up cash for legal aid training scheme

Hundreds of law firms and other legal organisations have applied for grants worth £1.5m from the Legal Services Commission (LSC) to fund the training of a new generation of legal aid lawyers.

Under a new scheme launched earlier this summer, the LSC has created 100 Legal Practice Course grants worth between £5,000 and £8,250. Any &#39solicitor organisation&#39 &#45 which includes law centres and Citizens&#39 Advice Bureaux as well as law firms &#45 that derives 50 per cent of its income from legal aid work is eligible to apply for funding.

Under a separate strand of the same scheme, the LSC has created a one-off batch of 100 training grants.

Worth about £10,000 each, this funding represents 75 per cent of the Law Society&#39s minimum wage for trainee solicitors. Although any organisation taking part in the scheme has to pay the remaining 25 per cent, the LSC hopes employers will pay more than the Law Society minimum.

Set up in response to the low number of lawyers training as legal aid specialists, the LSC hopes the new scheme will inspire greater awareness and interest in the area.

Karl Demian, head of civil remuneration at the LSC, said people had been very keen about the scheme so far.

&#34We have allocated enough funding for 200 grants this year and I&#39m hopeful we will fill all the places,&#34 he added.