'I wouldn't be a qualified solicitor without DAS' said one awardee of the Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme (DAS). 

Nick Emmerson

Nick Emmerson

Source: Darren Filkins

DAS was founded in 2004. Its aim is to support those who face social, educational, financial or personal obstacles to qualifying as a solicitor.

A unique scholarship programme, it is designed to address the three key barriers to the solicitors’ profession faced by those from less advantaged backgrounds – finance, mentoring and work experience.

Awardees are supported financially through scholarships to help fund the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE). Mentoring is provided through tailored matching of awardees with solicitor mentors. High-quality placements are also offered to awardees to help them gain experience of working in the legal profession.

To date, the scheme has supported nearly 300 talented trainees to pursue their career ambitions.

Our scholarship gives aspiring solicitors the ability to pursue their chosen career in the legal profession.

A recent survey on the DAS showed:

  • 90% of DAS awardees attended non-selective schools
  • 86% grew up in low income households
  • 86% were part of the first generation in their family to go to higher education
  • 44% are from Black or other minority ethnic backgrounds
  • 31% disclosed a disability

Data gathered by the Law Society also shows that 69% of the last five cohorts (2018-2022) secured a training contract and from the last 20 years, 88% are working as solicitors and 6% are working as a partner.

I am delighted DAS has helped so many aspiring solicitors achieve their goal of working in the legal profession.

In this landmark year, I hope we will come together to recognise their achievements and reflect on what more we as a sector can do to welcome and support aspiring solicitors from all kinds of backgrounds, lived-experience and other challenges faced on the path to working in the legal profession, so they can thrive.

The Law Society will be celebrating our alumnis’ achievements throughout the year and will be hosting an event later this year.

We will also be recruiting for our 2024 cohort and I encourage any aspiring solicitor who is facing particular challenges on their way to qualification to consider applying for a place on the scheme this year.

Over the last two decades, we have spearheaded a scholarship which provides invaluable opportunities to talented aspiring solicitors.

Ideally, in 20 years’ time, there should not be a need for DAS as access to the profession will be equitable no matter your background.

We will continue to strive towards this goal but, in the meantime, we will continue to offer the scholarship to those facing barriers to a career in law.


Nick Emmerson is president of the Law Society of England and Wales