Now backed by 18 leading law firms, including Shoosmiths, the Social Welfare Solicitors Qualification Fund (SWSQF) has secured funding for an initial cohort of 22 social welfare legal workers, selected from a pool of competitive applicants, to complete the BARBRI preparation course and qualify as lawyers.
The UK faces an overwhelming need for welfare lawyers. Faced with ongoing societal and economic instability, the clientele of those who cannot afford private legal representation is growing in size and vulnerability.
The SWSQF is a national initiative to develop social care lawyers into social care lawyers, financially supported by leading law firms and the City of London Solicitors’ Company Charitable Fund. It will widen access to justice for users of vital social protection services and increase social mobility in the legal profession.
The fund aims to award dozens of awards each year and covers the full training and assessment costs of selected candidates. Starting today, they will study part-time while continuing to work in their current social roles. Once qualified, each will deliver over 1,200 hours of social protection entitlement per year, which will have a significant national impact on a sector that is in critical need of support.
The SWSQF is run by the City of London Law Society in partnership with legal education provider BARBRI and Young Legal Aid Lawyers. Together, these organizations believe that talented future labor lawyers, regardless of income or background, should be given every opportunity to qualify in the profession.
Nicola Ellen, Head of Corporate Responsibility, said: “We are delighted to contribute to this project and wish the first cohort the best of luck.