Linklaters and Oxford Uni join forces to mentor underprivileged sixth formers

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Aspiring lawyers will be tutored by Wadham College bigwigs and receive TC application support from magic circle firm

Linklaters has joined forces with the University of Oxford to mentor sixth form students from “less advantaged” backgrounds who aspire to study law and join the legal profession.

The two-year pre-university programme, a tie-up between the magic circle law firm and Wadham College, Oxford, will adopt a “life cycle” approach to address specific barriers at key stages from pre-application to post-graduation.

The students will receive tutoring and support with critical thinking from Wadham law tutors, as well as university application and careers advice, while law undergraduates will be provided with career guidance and “targeted support” for Linklaters’ trainee recruitment programmes. They’ll also be invited to a series of networking events involving Linklaters and Wadham alumni.

Fionnghuala Griggs, trainee recruitment partner at Linklaters, said:

“Improving the socio-economic diversity of the legal profession requires action at every stage of the career cycle, starting from school level. The programme will look to ensure that talented candidates can achieve their full potential and aren’t excluded before they even have a chance to embark on their legal career just because they may be from a less privileged background. An individual’s socio-economic circumstances should not be a barrier to a successful career in the law.”

Ken Macdonald QC, warden of Wadham College added: “The lack of socio-economic diversity in law at university and beyond is due to a range of factors affecting an individual’s path to university, success on course and career prospects after graduation. This pioneering programme is designed to address these factors, and we are grateful to Linklaters for their transformative support.”

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The social mobility programme is open to sixth formers from non-selective state schools in Wadham’s link regions of Bedford, Cambridgeshire, Central Bedfordshire, Luton and the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Havering, Islington, Newham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets. The cohort of selected pupils is intended to be “reflective of the ethnic diversity” of the regions listed above.

Eligibility criteria will focus on location, performance at GCSE, school type and widening participation criteria. All students selected for the programme will need to be eligible for free school meals.

The programme is an extension of Linklaters’ Making Links social mobility-focused recruitment work, which includes Making Links Discovery, a programme the firm recently launched designed to open up access to a career in law for 16 to 18 year old students across the UK.

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Perhaps the London commercial end of the Bar could do something similar?

Better than wheeling out someone called 30 years ago during Inn events (with A Levels that would never make the cut today) as their “See! We DO take on people from state schools!”



Jun 29 2021 10:18am: I doubt the Commercial (or Chancery) Bar will do that. At the end of the day, they are looking for the brightest and best educated candidates. And those candidates have been privately educated.



Ah yes, because everyone who is privately educated is super, super bright. Not like their parents shelled out a fortune to prop up a rather dim child.



My friend went to public school and got into Leeds Beckett



Depends on the selectivity of the school. The most selective are the preserve of the super bright.



There will be incredibly bright children who grow up in poorer communities, who will never have the opportunity to go to a selective school that encourages them to succeed. And there are lots of children in that position, with great potential and natural ability, who are let down in every way imaginable.
The majority of readers on this website probably grew up in the home counties and London, in supportive households, and attended top grammars and private schools. That’s an incredibly fortunate position to be in, and you’re very lucky. You talk about people who are state-educated as if they’re some sort of underclass unworthy of working at the commercial bar. Do you honestly want to live in a country where a profession is drawn from a wealthy elite, 19th-century style? It’s vile.

I need to leave this country ASAP


Anon 3.01 that is the problem of the education system not recruiting Chambers or firms.


3.01 good luck on your travels. You won’t be missed.


The tuition industry in London alone is worth millions.

Parents with money literally pay to have tutors spoon-feed their kids to pass exams.

The industry literally wouldn’t exist if these kids were able to do well in exams without outside help.



I hope they don’t necessarily make these kids choose a law degree to do, they can enjoy the university experience and switch to law with a GDL and LPC sponsored by the firm, just like the wealthy do.


(state educated) commercial junior

For any students (of any background) who are interested in the commercial bar I would: (i) take anything said on these comments boards with a substantial pinch of salt (although I would hope that is taken as read); and (ii) take a look at the resources out there. In addition to law faris etc. a number of commercial sets recently set up a mentoring scheme – which seems to be working well – and I think COMBAR does something similar (alongside anything the Inns are running). As for backgrounds it is hyper-competitive but there are plenty of state-school educated in my chambers – i don’t have the stats but, anecdotally (and unsurprisingly), at the top sets it (feels) about the same proportion as attend leading universities.


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