Three Law Centres have been announced as host organisations for a lucrative solicitor training programme focused on social welfare law.
The Justice First Fellowships, offered by the Legal Education Foundation, provide a training contract for budding solicitors. This is integrated with leadership development and a chance for trainees to pursue a personal project at their host organisation.
The ultimate aim of the Fellowships is to foster a new generation of lawyers who from the outset are dedicated to social welfare law and its many challenges. The initiative responds to concern about the future of this area of law following the loss of many lawyer positions in the wake of public funding cuts, in particular to civil legal aid.
The programme is in its third year, and to date Law Centres have participated in every round. Coventry Law Centre was one of the first round of host organisations, followed by Avon and Bristol Law Centre and Law Centre (NI).
The fellowships are also a good opportunity for Law Centres to strengthen their ties with local law firms that want to support access to justice. In Birmingham, for example, the Law Centre position was co-funded by four firms.
Good luck to the Law Centres and their new recruits!