Building Bridges: Young Legal Aid Lawyers and BARBRI collaborate to improve access to the SQE

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  • YLAL members can now access exclusive discounted rates with BARBRI
  • YLAL will join BARBRI’s carefully selected pool of partners as part of its BARBRI Bridges funding initiative which has pledged £125,000 so far
  • This collaboration will support increased access to the legal profession for aspiring lawyers working in sectors that were traditionally publicly funded. 

Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) has today announced its partnership with global legal education provider, BARBRI, to provide financial assistance to the next generation of legal aid solicitors pursuing their qualification journey.

YLAL is a group of lawyers who are committed to practising in those areas of law, both criminal and civil, that have traditionally been publicly funded. YLAL members include students, paralegals, trainee solicitors, pupil barristers and qualified junior lawyers based throughout England and Wales. YLAL believes that the provision of good quality publicly funded legal help is essential to protecting the interests of the vulnerable in society and upholding the rule of law.

YLAL’s objectives are:

  • To campaign for a sustainable legal aid system which provides good quality legal help to those who could not otherwise afford to pay for it.
  • To promote the interests of new entrants and junior lawyers and to increase social mobility and diversity within the legal aid sector.
  • To provide a network for likeminded people beginning their careers in the legal aid sector.

Now as part of its collaboration with BARBRI, YLAL members will also benefit from exclusive discounts and alumni benefits for both of BARBRI’s SQE1 and SQE2 Prep courses.

With over 1.3 million alumni worldwide, BARBRI’s SQE Prep courses have been created by industry experts with LawTech at the core to provide students with the knowledge and tools needed to achieve SQE success. Its methods are tried and tested, with its inaugural SQE1 cohort achieving an average 77% pass rate compared to the 53% industry average earlier this year.

BARBRI has recently worked with YLAL and the CLLS on the creation of the Social Welfare Solicitors Qualification Fund, to support those working in social welfare law to qualify as solicitors, to improve access to justice. 

Siobhan Taylor-Ward, YLAL Committee Member, said: “As a result of chronic underfunding, the legal aid sector has struggled to ensure that it has sufficient lawyers qualifying as solicitors to protect access to justice and the rule of law. YLAL has long been concerned about the impact of government cuts to legal aid and their impact on the most vulnerable in society, as well as the negative impact on social mobility and diversity in the legal profession. 

This discount will go some way to help YLAL members to qualify as solicitors and become the next generation of legal aid lawyers. ”

Demonstrating its ongoing commitment to diversifying the profession, BARBRI created its BARBRI Bridges funding initiative in 2021, offering support to aspiring solicitors through a series of scholarships and partnerships. With over £125,000 in funding committed across the industry so far, this will be the organisation’s next steps towards building a more inclusive profession. 

Victoria Cromwell, senior director of business development for BARBRI, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with YLAL to help improve access to the profession through the SQE. We understand that despite the SRA’s mission to increase diversity, there are still some challenges ahead for those candidates hoping to self-fund the qualification process. We hope that working with organisations like YLAL as part of our BARBRI Bridges outreach will help provide more holistic opportunities to candidates from all backgrounds to help create a profession that is more representative of society today. We look forward to welcoming our first applicants very soon.”

BARBRI offer a range of full-time and part-time course options as well as learning and development opportunities beyond the SQE. Its innovative testing and learning technologies and one-to-one expert support provide future solicitors with the tools they need for continued success.

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