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The Pathways to Law programme runs across two years and offers Year 12-13 students an opportunity to find out more about studying a Law degree, university life and application process, undertake a legal work placement at a leading law, be mentored by undergraduate students, network with legal professionals, and find out more about a career in Law.


Research undertaken by The Sutton Trust found that 68% of UK-educated barristers and 75% of UK-educated judges attended fee-paying schools, despite the fact that overall only 7% of young people attend schools and colleges in this sector. This research indicates that young people who attended state schools are significantly underrepresented in high-status positions in the legal profession. 'Pathways to Law' was established to provide state school pupils with the opportunity to gain an insight in to university study and legal careers, thus attempting to level the playing field.

The University of Oxford is delighted to welcome its sixth cohort commencing in September 2018. In autumn 2017, we saw 71% of our third graduating cohort going on to a Russell Group university, 61% of which are studying Law, including three here at Oxford.

Am I eligible?

Students applying to Pathways to Law must meet the following criteria:

  • Attend and have always attended, a state-funded, non fee-paying school/college
  • Be in Year 12 at the start of the programme (for post 16 two-year programme) OR in Year 11 (for pre-16 activities)
  • Be living in Oxfordshire, Buchinghamshire, Berkshire, Swindon or Milton Keynes
  • Be interested in studying law or a pursue a legal career

In addition, we are looking for students who:

  • Have achieved 5 A*-B grades at GCSE (with a minimum of 2 A* or A grades), including grades 9-6 in Mathematics and English
  • Are the first generation in their family to attend university
  • Have been in receipt of Free School Meals whilst at secondary school
  • Have attended schools with a lower than average progression to higher education, or a higher than average proportion of students who qualify for Free School Meals
  • Have parent(s)/guardian(s) who qualify for means-tested benefits
  • Have been looked after or in care

Priority will be given to applications who meet the most criteria

Programme Structure

The Pathways to Law programme includes a range of events throughout Year 12 and Year 13 to give you a real flavour of both studying law and what it is like to work in the legal profession. Most events take place at the Oxford Faculty of Law, whilst some involve day trips to London or partner universities.

The programme delivers a full and varied programme which includes:

• Launch Event – an introductory event for parents and students, to learn more about the programme and the aims and objectives of the scheme
• Work Placement – all students will attend a pre-placement workshop followed by work experience with a local firm in either the February half-term, Easter or summer holidays
• A range of skills-based sessions - over the two years, a diverse range of topics including choosing and applying to a university, debating and mooting, essay competitions, writing CVs, cover letters and personal statements, LNAT preparation and admissions interview techniques, teamwork, networking and workshops on different areas of the law.
• E-mentoring – all students are paired up with an undergraduate law student as a mentor during the programme. The online mentoring platform is provided through the Brightside Trust.
• Mooting – all students take part in a mock moot trial
• Law Firm Visit – an opportunity to  learn more about life as a solicitor and routes to qualification
• Inner Temple Visit– an opportunity to learn more about a career as a barrister
• Open Days  - attend Open Days at host university as well as at Pathways to Law partner universities
• National Conference -  Pathways to Law students from across the country attend a four-day residential conference at the University of Warwick packed with talks, activities and networking opportunities
 Graduation – all students will attend a graduation ceremony upon completion of the programme;

Pathways to Law Partner Universities: Bristol, Exeter, Queen Mary, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, LSE, Manchester, Nottingham, Nottingham Trent, Oxford, Roehampton, Warwick.

How to Apply

Applications are now open for the 2019/2020 our 13th Cohort.  Information on the selection criteia and application form can be found on The Sutton Trust Website.