£5 million in cash and rent-free flats in central London up for grabs, but publicity is minimal
There are just five days left for students to apply for a slice of a massive £5 million pot to sponsor the cost of becoming a barrister — but nobody is talking about this incredible giveaway.
Once again, the publicity given by the bar to the annual Inns of Court scholarship scheme has been minimal, with not so much as a press release issued by the Bar Council, the Bar Standards Board or the Inns of Court themselves.
Most of the Inns have at least posted tweets about the scholarships — which cover Bar Profession Training Course (BPTC) fees and living expenses — with Gray’s Inn the most prolific. BPP Law School has also flagged up the deadline on Twitter. But that’s about it. Which is pretty incredible when you think about how much money is up for grabs.
What other profession would allow such a crucial part of its supposedly pro-diversity entry system to go so under-publicised?
In such an environment of poor communication it is no surprise that Inner Temple awarded its top scholarship last year to the daughter of one of its benchers. And it is similarly unsurprising that diversity at the bar is so awful, with 79% of new tenants at the top 50 chambers having attended Oxbridge.
Why isn’t the message about Inns scholarships going beyond lawyers’ families and Oxford and Cambridge uni careers’ services?
The former duo take into account need as well as merit as they allocate some of their funds, while the latter judge on merit only. It’s also worth noting that Inner and Middle interview all candidates who apply.
Students may also be interested to know that some Gray’s Inn and Lincoln’s Inn’s scholarships include rent free flats for the year in the heart of legal London.
Finally, you do not have to be a member of an Inn to apply for a scholarship. Many undergraduates don’t realise this. You only have to join an Inn before starting the BPTC. So if you fancy a career at the bar, it’s definitely worth putting in an application.
There is more information about the scholarships in ‘8 things you need to know before applying for an Inns of Court scholarship’, which has been updated for 2015.