The Law Society has hit out at the legal profession for not doing enough to broaden access to the profession just as it opens up applications for its sixth annual Diversity Access Scheme (DAS).
The organisation claimed that more needs to be done to open the profession up to a “wider, more diverse talent pool” and its DAS is something law firms should take note of.
Law Society chairman Nigel Dodds argued: “There are many candidates who have shown great potential and outstanding commitment to a career in the face of very difficult circumstances who would be a credit to the profession, yet we will be forced to turn many away simply because we don’t have enough funds to give them a place on the scheme.”
The DAS supports promising entrants to the profession who would not only otherwise be financially excluded from pursuing their legal studies but who have also overcome a variety of exceptional social, educational or personal obstacles.
Through the DAS successful applicants are given funding towards their Legal Practice Course. But competition for the spaces is extremely fierce with more than 120 applications received in total and only 17 awards made in 2009.
“For those who are successful in securing a spot on the scheme it’s a lifeline for their ambition to become a solicitor when all other options have been exhausted and a chance for the profession to extend its reach in the search for the best talent available,” added Dodds.
Applications for the DAS close on 31 March.