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Aspiring barrister who documented her BPTC struggles in new BBC programme is appealing Inner Temple’s decision to deny her a scholarship

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Leila Taleb is from a working class family in Bradford and is trying to raise £14,500 for her fees

Leila Taleb

An aspiring barrister from Bradford has showed viewers of a new short BBC3 programme how difficult it can be for working class graduates like her to become barristers.

Leila Taleb, the 25-year-old star of Breaking out in Bradford, told watchers that the bar is an “intimidating profession”, but that she doesn’t think her background should hold her back. She said:

It must be a cool and powerful thing to know the law and know your shit and then be creative and work within those parameters to seek justice for the person. The reason why I want to become a barrister is because I feel like there’s a lack of barristers that know what’s going on on the ground, that actually know about people.

The documentary shows Taleb — a Lancaster University LLB graduate, who also has a masters degree in applied human rights from University of York — raising money for the bar course by teaching part time. Given her hopes to study at The University of Law in Leeds, Taleb will have to save £14,500 to pay for the course. This 2017/18 fee is actually 7.5% cheaper than the 2016/17 rate, which set Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) students back £15,480.

Leila Taleb on BBC3 documentary ‘Breaking out in Bradford’

Though the documentary ends on a high (Taleb secures her place at ULaw weeks after completing her entry assessment), the aspiring lawyer has told Legal Cheek that there have been a few updates since it was filmed. Namely, Taleb has not received funding for the bar course and is now hoping to crowdfund the money. Her crowdfunding page, ‘Leila Raises The Bar’, states:

I applied for an Inner Temple scholarship. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful, despite the fact that they pride themselves on social mobility and their grants are awarded 80% on need. I need to raise £14,500 to pay for my course.

Taleb also told us she is appealing the Inn’s decision to deny her a scholarship. A spokesperson for Inner Temple told Legal Cheek:

Inner Temple scholarships are awarded on merit alone, assessed against five key criteria. For the vast majority of our awards, financial circumstances are then taken into account to determine the amount to be awarded. In 2017, Inner Temple awarded BPTC scholarships totalling over £1,485,000. The Inner Temple recognises that access to the profession is not solved by awarding money alone and that is why we also invest in a leading access programme, working closely with school and university students and providing access to and funding for work experience and skills development though the Pegasus Access and Support Scheme.

Though her funding hangs in the balance, Taleb has accepted her law school place and says she is “determined” to start her course this year. She told us:

I will find a way to raise the funds, I am sure of it.

Watch the documentary in full below:

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