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Diversity Access Schemes

For some time there has been a growing movement in the legal profession to create a more diverse workforce. This has led to a large number of diversity projects and access schemes, designed to ensure that every member of society knows that the law is a possible career. Inevitably the main focus has been onfinding work experience in law firms and barristers’ chambers for school and undergraduate students. Below is a guide to several such schemes; it is by no means comprehensive. Please email info@lawcareers.net if you are involved in other schemes that could be featured here.


This organisation aims to bring "aspiration-raising opportunities together in a single place". 

ACS in the City

ACS in the City is an enlightenment project for black African and Caribbean students interested in starting their professional careers with some of the world's leading employers.

Black Lawyers’ Directory (BLD); Legal Gateway Scheme

Non-practising solicitor Debo Nwauzu founded BLD in 2006 to promote diversity within the legal profession and provide a forum for networking. 

Black Solicitors' Network

This is the primary representative body in England and Wales for black solicitors; its focus is the equality of access, retention and promotion of black solicitors.


Brightside, an education charity, facilitates online mentoring projects for students.

Brokerage Citylink

The Brokerage Citylink works with young people in London to further opportunities and access jobs in the City of London.

Business Compact

In April 2011 a government-initiated, social mobility initiative entitled "Opening doors, breaking down barriers" was announced, promising to offer internships (or work placement places) to young people from deprived backgrounds. 

The Citizenship Foundation

The foundation aims to engage individuals in their society – running educational programmes and competitions to facilitate this. 

City Solicitors' Educational Trust

The CSET is focused on developing access to the legal profession through a specific scheme for university students. 

East Potential

If you are a resident of East London, then East Potential’s Routes to Work scheme could provide you with an opportunity to enjoy work experience at a corporate law firm.

Helena Kennedy Foundation

Founded by Dr Ann Limb in 1998, the organisation was set up following Baroness Kennedy QC’s Learning Works report which identified a significant number of adults who lacked formal qualifications.

Law Society Diversity Access Scheme

Founded in 2004, the scheme supports outstanding individuals facing significant barriers to becoming a solicitor, whether the challenges are social, educational, personal or financial. 

Lawyers in Schools

Lawyers in Schools offers an opportunity for law firm employees to volunteer in the classroom: sharing knowledge and understanding on a variety of legal issues.

No Bar to the Bar

This website, produced by the Bar Council, attempts to give a comprehensive insight into life at the Bar.

Pathways to Law

Pathways to Law is an initiative for state school students who are interested in a legal career and will be first-generation attendees at university. 

Pegasus Access Scheme

The Pegasus Access Scheme addresses concerns surrounding diversity and social mobility at the Bar by matching high-achieving students with partner chambers to undertake a mini-pupillage.


In September 2011 23 major UK law firms including A&O, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith, Linklaters, Norton Rose, and Slaughter and May signed up to a new work experience project designed to boost social mobility in the legal profession. 

Pure Potential

Pure Potential wants to increase applications to the best universities and graduate recruiters from students who have attended state schools and sixth form.

SEO London

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) offers high-quality mentoring and finds summer internships for outstanding penultimate year undergraduates from ethnic minority groups currently under-represented in the City.

Shaw Trust

The Shaw Trust provides employment services for disabled and disadvantaged people.

Social Mobility Foundation

An ambitiously broad, innovative charity, SMF seeks to place high-achieving A-level students from low income backgrounds in placements with major private and public sector institutions. 

Sutton Trust

The Sutton Trust funds educational opportunities for children and young people from non-privileged backgrounds. 

Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership

Established in 1991, this charity runs programmes and facilitates partnerships between corporate organisations and the schools around the Tower Hamlets area.

Warwick University Multicultural Scholars Programme

The programme aims to support students from ethnic minorities throughout their legal studies at the University of Warwick and, in turn, increase diversity within the legal profession. 

Windsor Fellowship

This organisation emerged as a product of the Windsor Conference in 1984, which was hosted following the race riots of the preceding years.

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