Keeley Miller joined the Diversity Access Scheme as a professional mentor in 2016 and was paired with a young aspiring lawyer. She explains more about this rewarding role.
In 2016 The Law Society considered 125 applications for the Diversity Access Scheme Scholarship. The scheme was set up with trust funding and is sponsored by Eversheds, Withers LLP, Reed Smith and Hogan Lovells. Legal Practice Course fees in London are now in excess of £15,000 – scholarships are awarded to successful applications with the support of BPP Law School, The University of Law, University of Westminster and Nottingham Law School.
The scheme awarded 10 scholarships in 2016 to aspiring solicitors who without the scheme might not have been able to pursue a career in law. In addition to a fully funded Legal Practice course, students are paired with a professional mentor and are invited to attend prestige events at The Law Society including the Excellence Awards providing networking opportunities for the next generation of solicitors with esteemed members of the profession.
Scholarships were awarded to applicants aged 17-54, all from different backgrounds, who had impressed the Law Society Diversity Access Scheme panel with their genuine desire to contribute to the profession. Applicants had to show academic ability and that they had developed skills relevant to becoming a solicitor through paid and voluntary work experience.
Our Senior Associate Keeley Miller joined the Diversity Access Scheme as a professional mentor in 2016 and was paired with Rochelle Mackenzie-McQueen.
Keeley has been meeting Rochelle once a month and believes Rochelle to be exceptionally capable. While studying at the University of Sheffield and Université Paris Est-Creteil for a combined Law and French law degree, Rochelle entered the Clifford Chance short essay writing competition and won twice! She also won a trip to Cambodia after winning an essay writing competition at the University of Sheffield and after graduation, she was awarded a scholarship to attend Shanghai Jiao Tong University for one term by the British Council as part of their Generation UK-China programme. However due to exceptional circumstances, the LPC was out of her reach, Rochelle was working at Coral bookmakers when she found out she had been awarded the Diversity Access Scheme scholarship.
“The Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme has been a lifeline. Having others recognise my potential and fully fund my LPC has helped me to realise that a career in law is a real possibility.” – Rochelle Mackenzie-McQueen
Keeley is looking forward to introducing Rochelle to colleagues during a work placement at Pinney Talfourd over the Easter break which will provide a new professional network for Rochelle.
“I wish this scheme had been available when I was seeking entry into the profession. I worked my way up from secretary to solicitor in 7 years – it was hard working full time and studying part time whilst raising a young family. Although I had the support of my husband it would have been great to have received funding for the LPC and be provided with a professional mentor. I feel that at 9 years post qualification and having been promoted to a Senior Associate I can offer Rochelle support and guidance and an insight into what the profession has to offer to an inspiring and talented young woman.” – Keeley Miller
This article was written by Keeley Miller, Senior Associate at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. The law may have changed since this article was published. This article is based on the law as of April 2017.