Now in its ninth cohort, this Fellowship round has positions with 20 hosts from all four nations of the UK who focus on different areas of social justice law. This year features hosts from Dundee to Bristol, and includes national organisations like Release, Coram Children’s Legal Centre and Asylum Aid.
The Legal Education Foundation’s aim is that the Fellowship is a route to a long and rewarding career using law as a tool for social justice, with Fellows going on to become leaders in their field and important advocates for access to justice and the rule of law.
Rather than simply being a training contract, the Fellowship is made up of three integrated parts:
The first is the training period (which this year for the first time includes the option of an SQE route). The Fellowship is slightly different in the way it encourages more strategic thinking, best illustrated by the project element of the scheme. Fellows develop a project with the support and input of their host organisation, which seeks to help advance access to justice and can potentially provide a future income stream for the host organisation. Examples have included a the Find Legal Options for Women Survivors project at RCJ CAB, the School Exclusions hub at Just for Kids Law, as well as well as a project through the Public Law Project which led to a successful campaign to wipe past convictions for homosexual activity from records.
Fellows on the scheme also gain extra support in the form of regular sessions with their cohort, which range from developing their project, through to professional development skills, additional training e.g. marketing and fundraising, and well-being support provided by Claiming Space.
The Fellowship also actively seeks to build important relationships within cohorts which gives them essential peer support throughout their training contract. They continue to be part of the JFF alumni following qualification. Hosts join a national network of organisations committed to supporting the next generation of social welfare lawyers.