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Legal aid grants made permanent

18 March 2005

One hundred future lawyers a year will benefit from a £20,000 legal aid training grant after the Legal Services Commission (LSC) announced its intention to operate the scheme on a rolling basis.
The grants, which cover tuition fees for the one-year legal practice course and 75 per cent of minimum salary requirements during a training contract, will go to students and trainee solicitors on the agreement they undertake legal aid work for at least two years post-qualification. The grants were first introduced by the LSC in 2002 and so far 387 have been provided.
LSC chief executive, Claire Dodgson, said: “Ensuring the next generation of legal aid solicitors is a key priority for the LSC. I am delighted we are able to make training grants available on a permanent basis. The training grants provided so far will translate into nearly 400 newly qualified solicitors working in legal aid.”
The Legal Aid Practitioners Group also welcomed the increased investment in a statement: “We are very glad the scheme has been placed on a permanent footing. This sponsorship has been a very positive development, which has already assisted several hundred young lawyers to join legal aid firms.”
Dodgson announced the scheme’s extension at the College of Law’s legal advice centre, where students give free legal advice on social welfare law under the supervision of a qualified solicitor. The College recently hired Pamela Rowbotham to run the centre’s training scheme for three years, with funds received from the LSC. Rowbotham is a housing specialist with 20 years’ experience.

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