Now supported by 18 leading law firms, the Social Welfare Solicitors Qualification Fund (SWSQF) has secured funding for an initial cohort of 22 social welfare lawyers, selected from a pool of competitive applicants, to take the preparation course BARBRI 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 Social Welfare Solicitors Qualification Fund is a great and really important initiative. I have seen firsthand the impact of the lack of criminal legal aid lawyers who are essential to ensuring that all members of society have access to justice, which is a fundamental part of the state by right. I welcome the legal organizations that financially support the initiative. Dame Alison Saunders, Partner, Linklaters LLP, Former Director of Public Prosecutions

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. “Effective and available advice has been more crucial than ever since the introduction of LASPO 2012, and these scholarships will help ensure that vulnerable clients can exercise their rights. Removing barriers to entry into the profession will help alleviate difficulties in accessing advice, particularly following the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m proud to support a program that will help qualified lawyers provide constituents like mine with the advice they desperately need.Dan Carden, MP for Liverpool Walton

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