Pathways to Law icon
Applications open:
21 August 2020
Applications close:
30 October 2020
Year 12
2 years

What the programme offers

Each university has a unique way of delivering the programme. Over the course of two academic years, every Pathways to Law student will:

Apply for a Work experience placement

Apply for a Work experience placement

Find out what it’s like to be a lawyer. You will be able to apply for a three to five-day work placement at a legal firm. You can visit their chambers, develop your skills and hear from practising professionals. Our placements range from big-city firms to barristers’ chambers to government departments. In the past we’ve worked with:

  • Linklaters
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Eversheds Sutherland
  • DLA Piper
  • Wilberforce Chambers


Attend campus events

Attend campus events

We hold regular events to help prepare you for applying to, and attending, university. Your university will hold events after school or during half-terms and holidays. We try to schedule most events in your first year to accommodate your A-level schedule. You will receive a full calendar of events in your first month so you can save the dates. In the past we have offered:

  • Open days
  • Interview workshops
  • Law masterclasses
  • Personal statement and CV-writing workshops


Get an undergraduate mentor

Get an undergraduate mentor

Get personalised guidance from an undergrad. You’ll be paired with a law student from your chosen university, who will guide you through your two years and give you insight into university life. They can share their experience picking a school, managing student finances, navigating social life and more!


Attend a summer school

Attend a summer school

Our four-day national summer school held at Warwick University is a crucial part of the programme. You will get to live on campus and go to lectures to see what university life has to offer. Meet students from around the country and network with professionals. Hone the skills that universities and employers look for. Access expert advice on university applications. You can look forward to:

  • Skills workshops
  • Networking events
  • Career talks
  • University fair
  • Social activities


Visit the Inner Temple

Visit the Inner Temple

The Inner Temple is one of the four Inns of Court and a prestigious legal institution. You will have the chance to travel to this esteemed location in London. There you will gain insight into the various routes to the Bar and network with barristers.


Access to our Alumni Network

Access to our Alumni Network

Once you graduate from a Sutton Trust programme, you will become a member of our alumni community. Sutton Trust Alumni is the online home of the alumni community. Here you can create connections, access support and inspire change. With more than 3,500 alumni already active in the community, you can get advice from alums studying and working in areas you are interested in. You’ll also gain exclusive access to events, career opportunities and ways to stay involved with our work.


Who can apply


Students applying to Pathways to Law must meet the following criteria:

  • Attend, and have always attended, a state-funded, non fee-paying school/college
  • Be in Year 12 at the start of the programme
  • Live within a reasonable commuting distance of the university you are applying to. This will normally be one hour’s travel time each way. If you are unsure about this, please contact us

In addition, we are looking for students who:

  • Have achieved 5 A* – B grades at GCSE (with a minimum of 2 A*
    or A grades), including grades 9 – 6 in Mathematics and English
  • Would be the first generation in their family to attend university
  • Have been in receipt of Free School Meals whilst at Secondary
  • Have attended schools with a lower than average progression to
    Higher Education, or a higher than average proportion of students
    who qualify for Free School Meals
  • Have parent(s)/guardian(s) who qualify for means-tested benefits
  • Have been looked after or in care

The more criteria you meet, the more likely you are to be offered a place on the programme.

The programme taught me so much about not only law itself, but also how to apply for work experience and jobs, how to network with professional people, what life at university is like, and so much more. Erika, Oadby, Pathways to Law 2018 - University of Leicester
The highlight of the program for me—besides meeting new people and figuring out my future—was the trip to the Inner Temple in London. The barristers we met were so welcoming and I was so inspired by them! Scarlett, Exmouth, Pathways to Law 2018 - University of Exeter
I gained so much knowledge, experience and opportunities that I’d never have been able to get outside of Pathways. Harriet, Leicester, Pathways to Law 2018 - University of Leicester
If you’re not sure, just take the chance, it could potentially be one of the best things you’ve ever done, as it was for me. You have nothing to lose by applying! Ibrahim, Manchetser, Pathways to Law 2018 - University of Manchester


Application deadlines

Applications for all Pathways to Law programmes open on August 21st, 2020. Universities set their own closure dates, which are given below:

Nottingham & Nottingham TrentClosed
*It is not possible to apply for the Exeter programme through the main application system. Instead, please visit

From our 2018 cohort


The proportion of students who met 3 or more of our programme criteria.


The proportion of students who would be first generation university students.


The proportion of students who were eligible for Free School Meals at secondary school.

Programme Impact


Pathways to Law students are 3.5x more likely to apply to a leading university.


Pathways to Law students are 4x more likely to accept an offer from a leading university.


The proportion of Pathways to Law students who study, or have studied, law at university.

What people say

By meeting a diverse group of people with similar interests, I decided to apply for university for Law, recognising it as the right subject for me. I also enjoyed work experience at a locally based solicitors, which is now the reason I aspire to be a solicitor.

Alice, Liverpool, Pathways to Law 2019 - University of Liverpool

The main thing I gained from Pathways was a confidence to pursue a career in law. Meeting people and visiting law firms confirmed that it was a career I wanted to pursue but also gave me the confidence that it was a career I could pursue.

Matthew, Manchester, Pathways to Law 2016 - University of Manchester

The insight that Pathways has given me has been one of the most formative part of making decisions, about university and my career. Work experience in the legal sector, shadowing barristers and attending advocacy training has offered me such a valuable outlook on what I can achieve!

Pathways to Law alum 2017 - University of Leeds


Pathways to Law universities run activities and workshops for students in Year 11 at local schools and at the universities. If you are in Year 11 and interested in being involved please contact the universities directly to see how to get involved. The Pathways to Law programme runs for two academic years. It starts during the first term of Year 12 and finishes in the final term of Year 13. The programme is run in conjunction with the following universities:


The Sutton Trust is incredibly grateful for the generous support that make our programmes possible. Special thanks to:

Explore other Sutton Trust programmes