FLiP Supports LEDLET: Access to Law

FLiP director Elizabeth Hicks explains her role as Chair of LEDLET and the way that the organisation opens up the legal profession to those with no previous experience of the legal world:

LEDLET is the Lord Edmund Davies Legal Educational Trust, a charity which was set up in March 2013  in honour of Lord Edmund Davies and with the support of his family. It is aimed at providing 17 year old Welsh students with no connections to the law an opportunity to experience different aspects of the law. LEDLET relies solely on charitable donations.

The first summer scheme took place in the summer of 2014 where 8 successful students from different areas of Wales spent a week in Legal London. In July 2022, 10 budding Welsh lawyers were chosen from over 85 applicants to spend a week in London. In 2021 and 2020 the summer week was an online experience due to Covid19 so it was great to meet this year’s cohort in person.

Any 17 year old in Wales can apply for the week’s scheme and the application is by way of an online form with parental consent. 2022 also marked the 3rd year when LEDLET partnered up with the charitable arm of Legal Wales so that 10 successful students also spent a week in Cardiff. Legal Wales administered the Cardiff Scheme and LEDLET administered and put together the London scheme.

LEDLET Trustees and associates are all lawyers with Welsh backgrounds. I am currently Chair of LEDLET. I come from a family in South Wales where I was the first person to attend university. We had no lawyers in the wider family and I thought becoming a lawyer was out of my reach. I worked hard, had luck on my side and eventually obtained what was then called a training contract in a small firm in the West End of London. A year after qualifying I successfully applied for a job at Kingsley Napley in the family department there – and the rest, as they say, is history!

At the end of July 2022, the 10 London LEDLET  students had a packed legal week. Straight off their trains, they had some tuition and then took part in a debate on whether the legal age to vote should be reduced to the age of 16. The debate was facilitated by Grays Inn and chaired by Mr Justice Griffiths.

The students each spent Tuesday with a solicitor and Wednesday with a barrister.

LEDLET is fortunate that we have support from many highly placed Welsh legal professionals. The London students spent an hour with Sir Clive Lewis, one of only 39 Court of Appeal Judges to hear about his journey in the law; they also had a private tour around the Supreme Court with the President of LEDLET, Lord Justice Lloyd Jones, who until January 2022 was one of only 12 Supreme Court Justices in England and Wales and now sits on the Supplementary Panel of the Supreme Court.

The students also had a tour around the Law Society of England and Wales and they spent  Thursday morning with some Judges at the Old Bailey where they watched the first ever televised criminal case. On their last morning, the students were hosted at the offices of international law firm BCLP where they had talks from Grays Inn, Oxford University and the University of Law on the different ways of entering the legal profession and from a pupil and trainee solicitor on what it means to be a junior solicitor and junior barrister.

All of this year’s LEDLET students said they had a fantastic time and all are now committed to forging ahead with a career in law.

The motto of LEDLET is Aim High – and I am delighted that it seems that this year’s students intend to do just that.