May 12, 2017
This is the second year that The Legal Education Foundation’s groundbreaking Justice First Fellowship scheme has been open to the bar.
During the 2017 barrister round, one pupil each will be recruited by Public Law Project, the charity known for its cutting-edge work, and Trinity Chambers, recognised as one of the leading sets in the north of England.
Would-be social welfare barristers have until 8 June to apply to become Justice First Fellows in 2017. (Applications for 15 trainee solicitor positions will open in August 2017 jff.thelegaleducationfoundation.org/current-opportunities).
The barrister Fellowship includes a year of casework, followed by a year of pupillage, with TLEF meeting the full costs of both years’ training. The PLP pupil will undertake their casework in-house at PLP; the Trinity pupil will spend their casework year at the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
The two barrister Justice First Fellows recruited in 2016 say being part of the scheme has given them experience and contacts they would not otherwise have had as trainee barristers.
“The fellowship has given me the chance to commit to social welfare law early in my career and to join a supportive and likeminded alumni of other lawyers. The project that Naima and I devised during our year at the Bar Pro Bono Unit focuses on empowering children through knowledge of the family court system. It has allowed both of us to make a tangible difference to children’s lives, while developing our confidence and communication skills.”
“An amazing benefit of working at the Pro Bono Unit is the daily access that it gives us to barristers, not only the unit’s 3,800 volunteer panel members, but also to professional and networking opportunities. The work has given us an insight into many areas of law and developed our commitment to the importance of access to justice. What you come to realise through working at the unit is that legal problems can happen to anyone, from any background and at any time.”
The Fellowship scheme was launched by TLEF in 2014 and aims to create future barrister and solicitor leaders in social welfare law. Along with their legal training, Fellows are also given additional training, including in business planning, communications and fund raising.
TLEF chief executive Matthew Smerdon says:
“We were pleased to be able to extend the Fellowship scheme to the bar last year, and are looking forward to receiving applicants of equally high quality in 2017. We are delighted to have Public Law Project and Trinity Chambers on board. Although very different, both organisations will provide the ideal environment for Fellows to not only become excellent lawyers, but also develop the wider skills and networks to help them become future leaders in social welfare law.”
For more details about the Fellowship scheme:
To make an application:
For more details about PLP:
For more details about Trinity Chambers:
The Fellowship scheme was launched in 2014, and extended to the bar in 2016. The two 2016 barrister Fellows are currently based at the Bar Pro Bono Unit and will be starting their pupillages at Pump Court and St John’s Chambers, Bristol, later this year.
Read a feature about the scheme in Counsel magazine, here:
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