Top City firms raise over £600,000 to support 65 aspiring social welfare lawyers through the SQE

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By Thomas Connelly on


Mayer Brown, Ropes & Gray and Law Society among latest backers

A raft of top City firms, legal charities and other professional organisations have raised in excess of £600,000 to help support the next generation of social welfare lawyers through the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).

Launched last year, the Social Welfare Solicitors Qualification Fund (SWSQF) targets people already working in social welfare law but who aren’t legally qualified.

The fund has attracted backing from nearly 30 law firms and other legal organisations, with Charles Russell Speechlys, Covington & Burling, Mayer Brown, Ropes & Gray and The Law Society becoming the latest to lend their financial firepower.

The SWSQF has now secured funding for over 65 social welfare legal workers, with some having already commenced their training with SQE prep provider BARBRI. The fund hopes to make a dozen awards annually and also covers assessment costs.

The 2023 Legal Cheek SQE Provider List

Once qualified, each lawyer delivers over 1,200 social welfare law hours annually, making a significant nationwide impact on a sector in critical need of support.

They other firms and organisation supporting the funding initiative are: Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Blake Morgan, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, City of London Solicitors’ Company Charitable Fund, Clifford Chance, Clyde & Co, Eversheds Sutherland, Freshfields, Latham & Watkins, Linklaters, Macfarlanes, Norton Rose Fulbright, Shoosmiths, Simmons & Simmons, Stephenson Harwood, Stewarts Foundation, Travers Smith, Watson Farley & Williams Trowers & Hamlins, Weil Gotshal and White & Case.

News of the funding efforts follows research undertaken by the Law Society which found that 80% of the population do not have access to a welfare legal aid provider, “leaving them unable to challenge or appeal decisions”

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