Legal education charity offers unprecedented number of training places to aspiring social welfare lawyers

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By Katie King on

Exclusive: Big hopes to take the total number of fellows to 50 by next year


A legal education charity has today announced that it’s giving 13 wannabe lawyers the chance to train up in the fiercely competitive world of social welfare law.

This is the highest number of fellowships offered since the Justice First Fellowship (JFF) programme began.

The 13 successful applicants will be working and training in one of 13 host organisations (listed in full below), which are based across the country.


All of these charities and advice agencies are new to the programme this year, bar the Central England Law Centre.

The JFF scheme is a great opportunity for aspiring lawyers who aren’t drawn to the big City lights to train up in an important and community-driven practice area in which job opportunities are usually dwindling.

The programme — which was launched by charity The Legal Education Foundation (TLEF) in 2013 — has grown from strength to strength in its short life, and even strayed away from its solicitor focus earlier this year when it opened its doors to aspiring barristers for the first time.

This time around, four more places are up for grabs on the scheme than were available last year, 11 for aspiring solicitors and 2 for aspiring barristers.

This takes the total number of fellows up to 31, and the charity has high hopes that its solid contribution to social justice will keep growing.

A number of new funders are on board with the project this year, including City law firm Hogan Lovells, who will be supporting the Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit and the Central England Law Centre. Matthew Smerdon, chief executive of TLEF, told Legal Cheek the co-funding is “going well”, and that the charity hopes to hit 50 fellows as of next year.

Interested? If you can demonstrate a commitment to social justice, then you can start applying from 15 August 2016 via TLEF’s website. The successful applicants will take up their posts in January 2017.