April 19, 2016
The Legal Education Foundation has selected Pump Court Chambers in London and St John's Chambers in Bristol to take part in its ground-breaking Fellowship scheme.
Two would-be barristers - one for each chambers - will be recruited to become Justice First Fellows, specialising in social welfare law.
The closing date for Fellowship applications is 4 May 2016
The two-year JFF training programme is being run by TLEF, with support from the Bar Pro Bono Unit. The two successful candidates will each spend a year as paid caseworkers at the unit (starting in September 2016), before beginning pupillage at their respective chambers in 2017.
Both pupillages will have a focus on public family law.
The £40,000-a-year cost of each candidates' two-year training is fully covered under the scheme. TLEF, a charity dedicated to improving diversity in the legal profession and helping people to understand and use the law, will meet the bulk of the costs, with the Council of the Inns of Court also making a significant contribution to the pupillage costs of each Fellow.
Matthew Smerdon, TLEF chief executive, said:
'When we launched our Justice First Fellowship scheme in 2013, it broke new ground. We are ambitious for our Fellows and one of our key aims for the scheme is to create the future leaders of the legal profession. With 18 trainee solicitor Fellows in place already, I am absolutely delighted that we have now been able to work in collaboration with the Bar Pro Bono Unit, the Council of the Inns of Court and the Family Law Bar Association to extend the scheme to include the Bar.'
Jess Campbell, Bar Pro Bono Unit chief executive, said:
'We look forward to helping future generations of the Bar better understand and interact with vulnerable people who struggle to access legal help. Having these talented pupils join the unit as caseworkers will enable us to further facilitate access to justice. It is a privilege to be able to play a role in the training and education of future pro bono barristers.'
Judi Evans, St John's Chambers, head of family practice group, said:
‘We are proud to be the first set of chambers outside London to be selected for this ground-breaking scheme. The Justice First Fellow will be a great addition to our public family law team, as they will be bringing with them invaluable hands-on experience of casework from having spent their first year as part of the programme working in the Bar Pro Bono Unit.’
Jennifer Lee, Pump Court Chambers, said:
'We are very excited to be the first set in London taking part in this extremely worthwhile cause, which has the promotion of access to justice, rule of law and equal opportunities at its core. As a set committed to those core values, and proud of our professional excellence, we feel that it is important to give high-calibre candidates, dedicated to advancing those aims, a fair opportunity to become successful members of the Bar in an increasingly competitive environment.'
James Wakefield Director of the Council of the Inns of Court, said:
'The four Inns are delighted to support the JFF scheme. This is a wonderful initiative by TLEF which will help those seeking access to legal help and those seeking pupillage. The two year programme will provide the Fellows with an excellent grounding in supporting their clients and promoting justice.'