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.
Applications are open to law and non-law students and recent graduates from any group that is underrepresented in the legal industry. Examples include candidates from an ethnic minority background, 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 as a single document your CV and a max. 2 page cover letter that should cover the following:
- 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 want to be a lawyer.
- Which area(s) of law you are hoping to work in and why, and any experience that demonstrates your interest in this area.
- Any additional interests or achievements of which we should be aware.
- Why you would benefit from being part of the TSL Mentor Scheme.
The next cycle of the TSL Mentorship Scheme will be open for applications from 14 January to 28 February 2023. You may apply before this window opens but your application will not be reviewed until 14 January at the earliest.
Before writing your cover letter, make sure you check our Assessment Criteria to ensure you are meeting the entry requirements. The application form will only let you attach one file, so please ATTACH YOUR COVER LETTER AND CV AS A SINGLE DOCUMENT. Applicants who fail to do this may be disqualified.
Successful Applications while on the scheme: Vacation Scheme and Training Contract 2023 at CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang
I highly recommend applying for the TSL Mentorship Scheme! Being an international candidate from a low socioeconomic background, I had previously struggled to receive feedback on unsuccessful vacation scheme applications and build long-standing connections in the legal industry. Owing to the TSL, I was allocated to the most amazing mentor Roy, who went out of his way to guide me through the application process and organise 1:1 mock interviews, CV reviews and catch-up calls with lawyers at international law firms I was in the process of applying to. Through the support I received from TSL, I converted most of my applications to interview invitations for very limited vacation schemes spaces and finally accepted my vacation scheme offer with CMS!
Successfully obtained pupillage while on the scheme.
The TSL Mentorship Scheme paired me with an excellent mentor who played a vital role in helping me obtain pupillage. My mentor went above and beyond with his advice, time and feedback on my applications and interview preparation. The scheme has been invaluable.
Successful applications while on the scheme: Winter Vacation Scheme, Foot Anstey, Spring Vacation Scheme and Training Contract 2022, TLT.
The Student Lawyer’s Mentorship Scheme was fundamental in building my confidence to tackle another cycle of applications (following many rejections!) On top of offering structured insight sessions with leading individuals, my mentor was a Partner in a leading UK law firm. In being friendly, committed, knowledgeable and ultimately, available, my mentor inspired me to succeed despite having no pre-existing connections to the industry.
Successful applications while on the scheme: Vacation Scheme obtained at Shearman & Sterling (Spring 2021)
The mentorship scheme was (and still is) an invaluable tool in my legal journey. I found the experience extremely insightful as I have learnt lots from my mentor and attending workshops organised by the team at TSL. I had more luck in this current cycle than I did in any previous one, and I think the scheme definitely had a part to play in it. A special thank you to those who have made it possible. To any law student, graduate, career changer or anyone else considering a career in law – apply to the TSL mentorship scheme!
The TSL Mentorship Scheme is provided in association with the in-house legal team, NNB Legal, who work on the nuclear new build projects Hinkley Point C in Somerset and Sizewell C in Suffolk. The team consists of over 35 people, with lawyers specialising in corporate, commercial, construction, property, planning and H&S amongst other disciplines. The team is also closely supported by a wide range of legal firms, including Herbert Smith Freehills, Allen & Overy, Pinsent Masons, Eversheds and Burges Salmon to name but a few.
The NNB Legal team will be helping us to review applications to the mentorship scheme, providing mentors, and putting on exclusive events for the successful mentees.