Monday 25 March 2013 by Jonathan Rayner

An educational charity has secured a £1.2m grant to help 1,200 sixth formers from less privileged backgrounds pursue a career in the law.

The Legal Education Foundation has given £1.2m to the Sutton Trust to fund its Pathways to Law programme, open to low- and middle-income state school students, many of them from underperforming schools and the 'poorest' postcodes.

Some 95% of participants in previous years were students whose parents did not go to university.

The programme, which is supported by the Law Society and seven leading law firms, was set up when research revealed that the top echelons of the legal profession were drawn from a narrow range of privileged backgrounds.

The programme runs for both years of a student's A-levels, with 400 students taking part every year, offering legal sector work experience, e-mentoring from undergraduate law students, help with university applications and a residential conference.

Sir Peter Lampl, chair of the Sutton Trust, said: 'The programme is really opening up opportunities for young people from non-professional families to become the next generation of lawyers.'

Legal Education Foundation chair Guy Beringer, a former senior partner of magic circle firm Allen & Overy, said: 'We are encouraged by the growing participation of universities and law firms, and this is evidence that the scheme benefits them as well as the many participating students.'

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