The Justice First Fellowship Scheme was established in 2014 to support the next generation of students committed to public interest and social justice issues who want to pursue a career in social welfare law.

The Scheme has been established by The Legal Education Foundation, and is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy, City Bridge Trust and a number of law firms.

Our aim is that the Fellowship Scheme will come to be seen as a route to a career in this important area of law, with Fellows going on to become leaders in their field and important advocates for access to justice and the rule of law.

The Fellowship consists of three parts. To provide:

  1. Pupillage, Training Contract and CILEx Qualifying Employment placements for law graduates seeking to pursue careers in social welfare law;
  2. Fellows with time and resource during their training period to develop and implement a project that will advance access to justice in some way;
  3. Additional support, training and opportunities for Fellows to gain skills and feel part of a wider movement of people committed to access to justice.

Details of how to apply to the Scheme are in the How To Apply section. Each year we aim to recruit Fellows in the summer/autumn to commence work in their host organisation in the following January (Application timetable). Fellows will commit to completing a training programme leading to professional qualification. Competition for places is intense and we want to recruit those students who can show the greatest passion for access to justice with the highest skills and aptitude. Priority will be given to students from less advantaged backgrounds as part of a related objective to advance mobility and diversity in the profession.

Fellowship placements will be available in legal advice organisations in different parts of the United Kingdom. Details of these organisations and the nature of the role available in each are generally finalised in the spring and published on these pages as they join the scheme. Fellows will be employed by their host organisation which will be responsible for supervising and supporting Fellows through their period of training. The wider support, training and opportunities component of the Scheme will be organised by The Legal Education Foundation and its partners.

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