Trowers joins forces to launch new fund for aspiring social welfare solicitors
The UK faces an overwhelming need for junior social welfare solicitors. Launched today, the Social Welfare Solicitors Qualification Fund tackles this deficit and will make a lasting difference in the field of social welfare law.
This cross-sector and nationwide fund targets dedicated social welfare legal workers by providing them with the funding to train and qualify as social welfare solicitors. It addresses the persistent shortage of social welfare lawyers by directly tackling barriers to qualification, such as debt or low wages.
The Social Welfare Solicitors Qualification Fund (SWSQF) increases access to justice for users of social welfare services, at the same time as broadening entry to the legal profession. The fund covers the full training and assessment costs of successful applicants, each of whom once qualified will deliver approximately 1,500 social welfare law hours annually.
Trowers & Hamlins Senior Partner, Sara Bailey said: "We are really pleased to be an early adopter of this programme, I see it as being unique in its proposition to convert social welfare workers into highly effective solicitors and have been so impressed to see forward-thinking, socially minded City law firms come on board. Together, City law firms can begin to make a real difference to such an important part of the legal services sector which continues to be under such funding pressures. This is social mobility in action, which is something we as firm are extremely passionate about."
Ellie Reeves MP, Shadow Solicitor General, said: "The Social Welfare Solicitors Qualification Fund is an excellent initiative that will help aspiring solicitors from all backgrounds to qualify as social welfare lawyers, ensuring that people who care deeply about public welfare will be able to begin their legal careers without worrying about costs. I am proud to offer the Fund my support and I encourage as many firms as possible to get involved."
The SWSQF is led by the City of London Law Society in partnership with training provider BARBRI, the Young Legal Aid Lawyers Group, the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, and the Law Centres Network, with financial support from over a dozen City law firms.
Together, these organisations believe that talented social welfare lawyers of the future, whatever their income or background, must have every opportunity to qualify into the profession. Applications to the SWSQF are now open until 17 January 2022.