Congratulations to all our students from the first Legal Wales Access to Law Summer Scheme, run in partnership with London-based charity the Lord Edmund Davies Legal Education Trust (LEDLET)!
The Scheme ran from 27th-31st July 2020 and, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, was fully on-line - another first. Twenty-four Year 12 pupils, from all over Wales, were selected to take part. The Scheme is designed to give young people from Wales, who have no connections to the law, an insight into legal careers, and the confidence to pursue such a career, following Lord Edmund Davies's injunction: "Anela'n Uchel - Aim High!".
In a demanding programme of four to six sessions a day, participants had the opportunity to hear from members of the judiciary, barristers, solicitors and chartered legal executives, based in Wales and in London, about their backgrounds, career choices and day-to-day working lives. The students undertook practical exercises designed to give a taste of some real legal work - making submissions to a judge about bail and about sentence, and learning the techniques of interpreting legislation. Sessions from the Universities of Cardiff, Swansea, and Oxford, University College London, the University of Law and Gray's Inn focused on matters of urgent interest to our 17-year-olds: university applications and choice of institution; studying law; converting to law after another degree; post-graduate qualifications and how to finance studies. Information was also provided on the CILEx route into law, as an alternative to university.
All students were provided with an individual mentor during the Scheme, and are encouraged to consider the Legal Wales and LEDLET representatives that they have met during the Week as additional mentors. In addition, applicants who could not be offered a place are provided with a mentoring opportunity, and a number have already taken up that benefit.
The senior judiciary gave tremendous support for the Scheme, with the Rt. Hon. Lord Lloyd-Jones, the Rt. Hon. Lady Justice Nicola Davies, the Hon. Mr Justice Lewis (as he then was) and the Hon. Mrs Justice Jefford all generously giving their time as speakers, as did HHJ Wendy Joseph and HHJ Milwyn Jarman QC. Support also came from across the political spectrum, with the Lord Chancellor, the Rt. Hon. Robert Buckland QC, and the Welsh Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams MS, both contributing to the programme.
The Legal Wales Foundation would like to express our profound gratitude to all those who have given their time to contribute to the Scheme this year, and their firms and Chambers. We would also like to thank all of you who offered your kind support, and hope to work with you on future access to law initiatives.