BPP launches legal aid scholarship in response to student’s lobbying

BPP has launched a legal aid scholarship, after a former student who was granted a scholarship by its dean lobbied the education provider to support more students like her.

Laura Wrixon, a University of Essex graduate and former legal researcher, was offered a place after the National College of Legal Training (NCLT) shut down its LPC and GDL.

Reacting to the news, reported by Lawyer 2B, she tweeted: “Very disappointed to hear this. It was the only affordable London option for me. Now have to rethink career.”

Following the publication of a Lawyer 2B blog by Wrixon, BPP Law School dean and CEO Peter Crisp handed her a lifeline. He tweeted: “I can offer you a bursary for LPC at @BPPLawSchool which will reduce fees to same as NCLT rate.”

He later reduced that rate to zero, handing Wrixon a free scholarship.

Crisp said: “I offered Laura a bursary after reading her blog on Lawyer 2B. BPP University College gives away over £500,000 in scholarships and bursaries ever year to support students who would otherwise be unable to study with us. The criteria for these include many of the characteristics which Laura described in her blog; for example, being the first in her family to go to university.”

Wrixon, who has now completed her studies and is a legal aid paralegal at Maxwell Gillott, successfully lobbied BPP to provide similar opportunities for students like her, and the law school responded by launching the scholarship.

The new scholarship is open to applicants who have secured an LPC place and have a first or 2:1 undergraduate degree and an interest in and suitability for a career in legal aid or public interest law.

Wrixon said: “I really love my job and would not have been able to pursue a career in legal aid had I not been given a scholarship for the LPC. The cost of legal education and the salary you can expect as a legal aid lawyer just don’t add up unless you have independent means.

“I realise that one scholarship a year can’t fix this problem and there needs to be proper consideration of the underlying issues but if someone else can get the opportunity I have had, I think that’s a really positive thing.”