Squire Patton Boggs has launched its Access to Law Scholarship Programme in the UK, an initiative undertaken in collaboration with the Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP) to provide financial assistance to students from less advantaged backgrounds seeking a career in law. The Programme is part of the firm’s wider social mobility efforts which have seen it rank in the top 10 employers in the latest Social Mobility Employer Index.
The three-year Access to Law Scholarship Programme will support seven Year 13 SMBP alumni, covering their university tuition fees and providing an annual bursary of £2,500 for cost of living expenses. The programme also includes mentoring, work experience at one of the firm’s UK offices and the opportunity to join its summer vacation scheme to secure a training contract.
Partner Rob Elvin, who leads the firm’s Social Mobility Resource Group, commented: “Ability is not the preserve of the privileged. The cost-of-living crisis has made it even harder for young people from diverse and less advantaged backgrounds to be able to go to university, gain further qualifications and achieve the careers they deserve.
“We’ve met so many talented people through our work with the SMBP and, with their help, we have been able to launch this programme to provide focused support to seven students with great potential who we look forward to supporting on their journey through university and in their future career.”
Jessica Clarkson, Programme Director at SMBP, said: “Squire Patton Boggs has been a huge supporter of SMBP since its launch. The firm is always looking for new ways to increase its overall impact, from running point in the North West to delivering Work Insight days with clients in multiple UK regions. The introduction of this scholarship, which was offered to SMBP Alumni students applying to study law at university, has taken this to a new level. It is testament to our long standing relationship and the firm’s dedication to increasing social mobility. I have no doubt that the students who have been successful will make the very most of this opportunity to unlock their potential.”
The Access to Law Scholarship Programme is one of a number of measures taken by the firm to support social mobility. In addition to continuing to develop training, mentoring and work experience opportunities, the firm has expanded its apprenticeship scheme to include both legal and non-legal apprenticeships, providing an alternative route into law.
The firm has also increased its work within local communities, appointing lawyers as local champions to partner with schools, colleges and universities to raise skills and provide opportunities for a variety of candidates to access its work experience, open days, student support and legal industry insights. Aligning with its ESG strategy, the firm has committed to provide 75% of internship and work experience opportunities to disadvantaged students through its social mobility programmes.