The last few years have seen a much-needed focus on diversity in the recruitment of new solicitors and barristers, in order to address the difficulties faced by certain groups in making their way into the legal profession. Firms are waking up to the fact that diversity is much more than a box-ticking exercise – clients want to see diverse legal teams who can bring different approaches to solving their issues and firms realise that a diverse team can better handle client demands.
However, a look at the SRA and Bar Council’s latest statistics show that there is still a long way to go before the makeup of the legal profession matches the diversity of the population as a whole. The statistics are generally worse in commercial firms and chambers where the odds remain heavily skewed in favour of candidates from privileged backgrounds.
The TSL Mentor Scheme seeks to level the playing field by matching mentors from the legal industry – both solicitors and barristers – with mentees from underrepresented groups.
Successful applicants to the scheme will receive:
- A personal mentor who works in your area of interest to help you with your applications over the course of the year.
- Free one-to-one coaching and advice from your mentor, whether that be helping you to pick which firms or chambers to apply for, fine-tune your CV, practise interviews, or build a network.
- Invitations to exclusive TSL events, such as networking evenings, panel discussions, and skills workshops.
- Access to our CareerBridge online Professional Development curriculum.
Applications are open to law and non-law students and recent graduates from any group that is underrepresented in the legal industry. Examples include BAME candidates, candidates with a disability, LGBTQ+ candidates, candidates who spent time in local authority care, and candidates from low-income households (e.g. candidates who received free school meals). This is not an exhaustive list – we want the scheme to be open to all who need it, so if you believe you fall into another underrepresented group that does not correspond with any of these categories or have faced other barriers or adversity in your life/ in your academic career or pursuit of a legal career, please mention this in your cover letter.
To apply for the Scheme, please complete the application form using the link below and attach your CV and a cover letter (maximum 2 pages) that should include the following:
- Why you want to be a lawyer.
- Which area(s) of law you are hoping to work in and why.
- Any experience that demonstrates an interest in this area of law and any achievements of which we should be aware.
- Any underrepresented group of which you are a member (it can be more than one) or examples of barriers or adversity that you have faced in your life/academic career or your pursuit of a legal career.
- Why you would benefit from being part of the TSL Mentor Scheme.
Applications for the first cycle of the scheme will close on 15 August 2020. Applicants will be matched with mentors on a rolling basis and there are a limited number of mentors so we recommend applying as soon as possible. As more mentors sign up to the scheme, we will re-open the application portal for future cycles of the scheme throughout the year. Before you submit your application, please review our Assessment Criteria and Confidentiality Guidelines.