Legal education charity backs 19 ‘social justice’ training contracts

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Applications now open

Applications to a legal education charity’s training contract programme officially opened this week, with 19 spots up for grabs.

Now in its seventh year, The Legal Education Foundation’s (TLEF) Justice First Fellowship programme looks to support the next generation of would-be welfare lawyers by sponsoring them through their training contracts.

This year’s training organisations include child rights specialists, law centres, legal charities and advice agencies, as well as civil liberties law firms Bhatt Murphy and Deighton Pierce Glynn.

TLEF says candidates must have passed (or expected to pass by 31 October 2020) the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and be able to demonstrates “a strong commitment to social justice”.

TLEF chief executive Matthew Smerdon said: “This year’s recruitment round means we will have funded over 100 trainee lawyer posts since the fellowship scheme was launched in 2014. The pandemic has highlighted just how vital it is for people facing difficulties to have access to expert, dedicated lawyers, to help secure their rights and solve legal problems.

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He added:

“We thank the 19 host organisations for working with us, and also our 2020 co-funders, who share our belief in the importance of creating future leaders in this vital area of law.”

Applications opened yesterday and run until 14 September. Applicants can only apply to one host organisation.

The 2020 training organisation are: Bhatt Murphy; Central England Law Centre; Children’s Legal Centre Wales; Citizens Advice Plymouth; Clan Childlaw; Deighton Pierce Glynn; Derbyshire Law Centre; Disability Law Service; Ealing Law Centre; Family Rights Group; Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit; Greenwich Housing Rights; The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants; Mary Ward Legal Centre; Merseyside Law Centre; Public Law Project; RCJ Advice & Citizens Advice Islington; Shelter (Manchester); and Shelter (Plymouth).

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Useful if you are interested in social welfare law. However I do find it odd having met some successful applicants under this scheme that trainees under this scheme are called “First Fellows rather than “Trainee Solicitors” Surely creating such an arbitrary distinction is unhelpful for a scheme designed to increase social mobility.

Also I’d be interested in finding out how some of the providers for this scheme can only offer one area of law when the whole purpose of a trainee contract is to give someone exposure to a minimum of three areas of law.

I wish this article dealt with these issues

I’d be interested in hear others thoughts.



* to hear others thoughts.

Typing on my phone sorry hence the typos re: the above



I think the point is that it makes it nice and clear that these effectively aren’t proper trainees in the traditional sense. Otherwise it could muddy the water and tarnish the good name and reputation of the trainee cohort.



What do you mean by tarnish the good name of the trainee cohort? Surely after a few years of PQE employers stop looking at where someone has trained? That has certainly been my experience

I say this as I applied for a so called Fellowship, got rejected but then did my training at a traditional law firm and then going in house.


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