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New fund launched to increase number of junior social welfare solicitors

A new fund was launched earlier this month in a bid to address what has been described as a persistent shortage of social welfare lawyers.

The cross-sector and nationwide Social Welfare Solicitors Qualification Fund will target dedicated social welfare legal workers by providing them with the funding to train and qualify as social welfare solicitors.

The SWSQF is led by the City of London Law Society in partnership with training provider BARBRI, the Young Legal Aid Lawyers Group, the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, and the Law Centres Network, with financial support from more than a dozen City law firms and the Charitable Fund of the City of London Solicitors' Company.

“Together, these organisations believe that talented social welfare lawyers of the future, whatever their income or background, must have every opportunity to qualify into the profession,” the City of London Law Society said.

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The SWSQF fund covers the full training and assessment costs of successful applicants, each of whom once qualified will deliver approximately 1,500 social welfare law hours annually.

Applications to the SWSQF are now open until 17 January 2022.

Richard Miller, Head of Justice at The Law Society of England and Wales, said: “This initiative will help rebalance a small part of the access to justice challenge – by ensuring people stay in social welfare legal work, and helping them gain the education and qualifications they need to act effectively as social welfare solicitors. This is a really good addition to efforts being made by many to ensure those in need have adequate legal representation when they most need it.”

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