A summary of the Law Society of Scotland’s equality and diversity initiatives.

The Law Society of Scotland launched its Street Law programme with five pilot schools in Glasgow in 2014. Street Law is an innovative, interactive way of teaching law and sees trained law students deliver a number of classes law to school pupils. During 2015, the programme was rolled out to further schools across a wider range of local authorities. Feedback from teachers, pupils and the students who have delivered the classes has been highly positive and the programme has now expanded across Scotland. It will be delivered in over 30 schools in the 2015/16 school year.

The Society is targeting the programme at schools that do not have a tradition of pupils going on to study law at university. It is hoped that Street Law will help interested pupils from such schools consider a legal career – either as a solicitor or elsewhere in the justice sector. The Society is also increasingly linking its Street Law programme with other initiatives at law firms, in-house organisations and its own careers days.

The Law Society of Scotland is in the process of establishing a Legal Education Trust to provide financial assistance and mentoring support to able students from less advantaged backgrounds to assist during both undergraduate studies and the vocational Diploma in Professional Legal Practice on their path to qualification as a solicitor. A fixed sum bursary will be available for each study year to students who meet eligibility criteria based on income of parents or guardians. Students will only be eligible to apply if they have received an offer to study the LLB degree at a university accredited by the Law Society of Scotland.

Experience in other widening participation initiatives demonstrates that mentoring support is of equal importance as financial assistance and, therefore, mentoring will be a requirement for all successful applicants who will benefit from the guidance, advice, support and encouragement from a member of the Scottish solicitors profession. Fundraising for the Trust is due to commence in January 2016 and will continue on an ongoing basis with a view to supporting an increasing number of students year on year. Anybody interested in donating to the Legal Education Trust should contact Liz Campbell, Executive Director of Education, Training and Qualifications at the Law Society of Scotland at lizcampbell@lawscot.org.uk.