New video highlights Lawscot Foundation success story

A new video featuring one of the first Scottish law students to be awarded Lawscot Foundation funding and mentoring support has been launched.

Eight students, who all started law degrees at Scottish universities in 2017, are the first to have received financial and mentoring support from the charity, which was set up in 2016 to help academically talented students from less-advantaged backgrounds through their legal education journey.

The Lawscot Foundation offers financial assistance to each of the students during their law degree and through the postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Practice. It also provides mentoring throughout their studies from an experienced Scottish solicitor to help enhance the student’s confidence, skills and knowledge.

Darren, who was a young carer for his three siblings and is now a law student at the University of Aberdeen, tells his story about wanting to become a lawyer in the video.

He said: “I want to become a lawyer to help people in the same way that a lawyer helped my family after my parents separated. Going through the courts was very intimidating, but the lawyer was a hero to me. Now I’m at university the Lawscot Foundation bursary has helped take some of the pressure off financially and having the support of my mentor, who is a practising solicitor, has been great. When I first met him I was pretty stressed about my exams, but he gave me some good advice and was really helpful.”

Heather McKendrick, head of careers and outreach at the Law Society of Scotland, said: “It really is a privilege to be able to help this first group of talented young people. Some of them have faced huge challenges at a young age – from being in care or, as in Darren’s case, being a carer themselves. Rather than being overcome by such challenges, they have been motivated to pursue a career in the law and want to make positive contributions to society in the future. I have no doubt that the legal profession will be all the richer for having such an inspiring group of people as part of it.”

She added: “Our aim is to be able to support eight students every year through their undergraduate degrees and diploma, so in five years we will be supporting a total of 40 students at different stages on their route to qualification as a solicitor. This is a hugely ambitious target, and we have had terrific support since our launch which we can build on to ensure we raise the necessary £100,000 each year.

“Lawscot Foundation wouldn’t happen without our very generous donors, including Dickson Minto and RBS, and there are lots of ways for individuals, law firms and other organisations to get involved and support us. I would encourage anyone thinking about donating, fundraising or becoming a mentor to get in touch and find out more.”