The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

Financing the vocational courses

discretionary for the GDL and LPC, which means that they are difficult to get. As a result, you should contact your local authority as soon as possible to find out the situation and apply immediately. Local authorities can supply more details of their award policies. Most authorities require you to complete an application form with details of your education history and financial circumstances. Law Society The Law Society runs the Diversity Access Scheme, which provides support to talented people facing social, educational, physical or financial barriers to qualifying. The scheme provides scholarships to cover LPC course fees and access to mentors in the profession, plus opportunities to gain legal work experience. Inns of Court In recent years the four Inns have dished out millions of pounds in awards. They all seem to use the umbrella term ‘award’ to describe scholarships, bursaries and grants. Inner Temple even calls them ‘exhibitions’. Curiously, most aspiring barristers know little about the awards available and although the Inns’ websites provide some information, there’s a complex web of requirements and application procedures, meaning that working out exactly what is available can be a challenge. Sellisha Lockyer, scholarships and students manager at Inner Temple, said: “All four Inns offer financial assistance to students undertaking the GDL and Bar courses. The type of scholarship and the grant amounts offered by each Inn vary. As you can only apply for a scholarship at one, we would recommend that you look at each Inn’s scholarships programme to determine which scholarship would best suit you and where you feel you would be most successful. Some Inns offer higher scholarship amounts,

Training to be a lawyer is not cheap. The reality is that if you have to pay for all your university tuition fees and vocational courses, you could incur debts of many tens of thousands of pounds. And it’s not just course fees that have to be considered – there are also the other expenses of books, accommodation, food, transport and at least one smart outfit! So with that in mind, how can you finance the vocational stage of your study? Thankfully, there are a variety of options. For those who secure a training contract or pupillage before they begin their vocational training (which is recommended), sponsoring firms or chambers may pay fees and/or a maintenance grant. For those who are self-funding this stage, careful financial planning is essential. In 2019-20 Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) course fees were as much as £12,050. Fees for the Legal Practice Course (LPC) were even higher, with the LPC costing as much as £17,300. Meanwhile, the fees for the new Bar courses introduced in September 2020 are as much as £16,000. Clearly, these fees represent the upper limits of what you can expect to pay, but the courses are always a significant financial undertaking – especially given the rising cost of living throughout the country and the economic impact of the global pandemic. Sponsorship An increasing number of firms and chambers offer financial assistance to their future trainees and pupils, from full payment of fees and maintenance for up to two years of postgraduate study to the provision of an interest-free loan towards LPC/Bar course fees. One thing to remember is that the terms of sponsorship may tie you to the firm for a period after your training contract. Details of individual policies can be found in the directory section of this book. Local authority grants Such grants are available, but funds are extremely limited. In addition, grants are


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