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Breaking down barriers

Educational opportunity is the most powerful tool we have to increase social mobility

Gaining entry into the legal profession must be open for the most able and hard-working of our young people, regardless of their background, or the school they attend.

Many students do not fulfil their potential often because (i) they don’t have access to the right kind of knowledge to become sufficiently informed about the realities of what it takes to forge a legal career, or do not understand the various routes into the legal profession,  (ii) they believe a legal career is beyond their reach as they have not gone to the "right" university and are concerned that a quiet elitism persists in law, (ii) the huge financial pressures of having to self-fund their legal education fees puts a number of students off pursuing a legal career, and (iv) many other students lack the self-confidence to successfully navigate their way through the ultra-competitive legal recruitment journey.  

Law firms and the legal profession as a whole have made some important strides in the issue of diversity; increasing diversity and social mobility, widening access and social inclusion is on the agendas of many law firms. However, there is still a along way to go before we reach the finishing line.

 

Gaining entry into law has actually become even more difficult for those from poorer backgrounds. Why is this? Well, if you are not part of the middle-class support network you are much less likely to become a lawyer, because you are less likely to have built-up links and connections or established support networks with practising lawyers or have family members, teachers and friends to guide you, inspire the self-confidence, character, and know-how needed to gain entry into the legal profession. This is why it can be very hit and miss for students from less advantaged backgrounds to realise their talent and gain access to the legal profession.