Our research found that over two thirds of the barristers at the top chambers have attended independent schools, as have three quarters of the judges, and over half the partners at the leading law firms. This is in comparison to 7% of the general population.
It was startling statistics such as these that led to the set-up of Pathways to Law back in 2006 – the Sutton Trust’s first programme aimed at widening access to the UK’s leading professions. Since then, over 3000 young people have had the opportunity to explore the legal sector, partnering with thirteen universities and over 70 law firms to deliver this success.
We are also now proud to announce that the programme has recently won three awards, recognising the impact it has on young people’s lives. At the University of Manchester Making a Difference Awards, Pathways to Law were double award winners, receiving the public vote for ‘Most impactful programme’ and Saba Mirshafiei, programme coordinator at Manchester, won the ‘Outstanding contribution to widening participation’ award. Saba told us:
“These awards are testament to the input of a large network of supporters both in Greater Manchester and beyond!
“I’m really proud of our work and achievements, and already get a lot of job satisfaction from my work in this area, as I know my colleagues do too. Receiving these awards is a fantastic recognition for this work, and hopefully shines a light on what we’re doing so that we can continue to support young people into their futures.”
At the University of Liverpool, Pathways to Law won ‘Faculty Award for Learning, Teaching and Student Experience’ alongside £500 towards the initiative. Benjamin Toleman, programme coordinator at Liverpool, shared:
“We are proud to receive this fantastic award, which recognises the impact that the project has had on disadvantaged young people across Merseyside, particular the 47% of Pathways graduates that have been placed at Russell Group institutions.
“The £500 prize will be used to fund a process where Pathways graduates can bid for funding for resources that will assist their studies and support their time at university.”
Working on the programmes now for over two and a half years, I can only echo what’s said here by Benjamin and Saba. The programme truly supports young people explore the profession and make informed decisions about their next steps. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who works with us on this programme for all their fantastic work – we couldn’t do it without you.
Pathways to Law offers students from low socio-economic backgrounds the chance to explore the law industry through a work experience placement, exposure to university life and a national conference hosted at leading UK university. Since the programme’s set-up twelve years ago, we now run a suite of Pathways programmes targeting a whole range of industries including Medicine, Banking and Finance and STEM.
Image: The winning team at Pathways to Law, University of Liverpool
Image: Double awards for Pathways to Law, University of Manchester