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Law School

Pathways to Law

Pathways to Law is an innovative and exciting programme, which provides fantastic opportunities for sixth form students who are interested in law. Jointly managed and funded by the Sutton Trust, Pathways is offered at 11 UK universities, including the University of Exeter.

The programme targets high-achieving students in state schools and colleges who will be the first generation in their family to attend university. It aims to raise their aspirations and provide them with the skills and confidence to pursue a successful legal career.

Recruitment for Exeter Pathways to Law is facilitated through our Exeter Scholars programme.

Pathways to Law at the University of Exeter is open to students who satisfy most, if not all, of the following criteria:

  • You are studying at a state school within the south west of England
  • Be in year 12 at the start of the programme
  • You have achieved a minimum of 8 GCSE’s at grades A* - C or 9 – 4 to include GCSE Maths and English at Grade 4 or grade C and above
  • Plus you meet one of 8 additional eligibility criteria which can be found on the Exeter Scholar's website in the Apply section
  • Live within a reasonable commuting distance of the university to which they are applying
  • Have an interest in studying law and/or a legal career
  • Be enthusiastic and show a willingness and ability to commit fully to the demands of the programme.

Applications for 2023 entry are now closed. Applications for 2024/2025 entry will open in September 2024 and you can find out more on the Sutton Trust Pathways to Law pages here.  Applications for 2024/2025 will be via the Sutton Trust Application portal and students, teachers, parents and any other interested parties can register interest now for 2024/2025 entry.

If you have any questions regarding the application process or your eligibility for Pathways to Law, please contact Kate Blackmore, Pathways to Law Coordinator. 

The Pathways to Law programme is made up of a number of activities which are common to all Pathways universities.

Each university also runs a series of bespoke activities for their individual Pathways to Law cohort. Students on the Exeter Pathways programme will take part in the following activities:

Academic sessions

These will be a mixture of lectures and seminars, and will be delivered by expert staff from the Law School. The exact session details are subject to change each year, but the programme could include:

  • English legal system & sources of law
  • Law, politics & the constitution
  • Criminal law
  • Law & business
  • Law & morality
  • Human rights & justice

Client interviewing and networking

You will learn how to conduct a legal client interview, taking on the role of a solicitor trying to obtain detailed information from your newest "client". This session will help develop your networking and communication skills as you interact with law academics, student ambassadors and legal representatives.

You will also have the opportunity to meet many different representatives from the legal industry throughout the programme, who may be supporting academic sessions, giving advice on CV’s or representing their firm at our annual law fair to which you will be invited.

Visits to legal institutions

You will have the opportunity to visit either Exeter or Truro Law Courts and witness current cases in session. The programme will also include a visit to London, where you will be able to take part in a Discovery Day at the Inner Temple, with a focus on guiding students through the process of becoming a barrister and the scholarships and support available at this notable Inn of Court. Lunch and networking with legal professionals and other pathways to law students included!

Work experience

You will complete a 3-5 day work experience placement at a law firm, barristers' chambers, law courts or in-house legal team. This experience could be an in-person or virtual experience.

National conference

This 4 day residential conference, held at the University of Warwick, brings together Pathways to Law students from across the country to take part in a wide-ranging programme of academic and social activities.

Other academic opportunities

You will have the opportunity in taking part in other law-related activities or events that are offered through our central widening participation programme of events, such as Careers Insight Week and online forums with our student ambassadors on relevant topics throughout the year. Our law student ambassadors will also be supporting all the pathways to law sessions so you can gain first-hand knowledge of the university and student life at any time!

Supporting your career development

You will receive expert help and guidance in areas such as CV-writing and interview skills, along with support with your UCAS applications and personal statement. You can also take part in a skills webinar to help you prepare for your LNAT test which is required at some universities when applying for Law.


All students attend a Pathways to Law graduation ceremony at the end of the programme, where you will be presented with a certificate from the Head of the Law School.

You will gain a lot from taking part in the Pathways to Law programme. It is impossible to list all of the programme's benefits, but here is a small selection to give you some ideas:

Alternative offers and benefits

Students who successfully complete Pathways to Law and decide to apply to the University of Exeter will be eligible for an alternative offer. Depending on your chosen course, this offer will be a minimum of two A-level grades, or equivalent, below the standard entry offer. (Offers will be made subject to applicants fulfilling any subject specific entry requirements and completing any required admissions tests or interviews). Please refer to the University of Exeter Senior Scholars Benefits Package pages to see the full list of benefits of the programme.

Increased knowledge

Taking part in Pathways to Law will significantly increase your knowledge and understanding of what law is like, both at university and as a career. This increased understanding will give you a headstart when thinking about your future career path.

New skills

Through Pathways to Law you will develop some of the most essential skills for your future, such as teamwork, analysis, communication and presentation skills. You will also have lots of opportunities to interact with fellow students and legal professionals, allowing you to develop confidence and good networking skills.

And many more...

As well as these benefits, Pathways to Law is enjoyable, interesting, and a great way to make new friends!

Pathways to Law students will complete a 3-5 day work experience placement whilst on the programme. These placements normally take place at February half-term, but can also take place during the Easter or Summer holidays. Placements may take place within one of many legal settings, such as a law firm, barristers’ chambers, County or Crown Courts or in-house legal team.

The University of Exeter gratefully acknowledge the support of the following organisations who have either provided quality work experience placements for our students in the past or are currently engaging with the programme:

Pathways to Law students are supported during their sixth form studies, and throughout their time on the programme, by an e-mentor. These mentors are either first or second year law students at the University of Exeter, who provide information and guidance to their mentees on a voluntary basis, based on their own personal experiences prior to and since starting a law degree. Mentors support their mentees primarily on-line by using a secure on-line portal operated by the social mobility charity Brightside. However, mentors are also encouraged, where possible, to join students on campus either at lunchtime or during academic sessions and other workshops or trips. All mentors have the opportunity of applying to be a Team Leader at the National Pathways Conference at the University of Warwick in the summer.

Recruitment for e-mentors generally begins in October and any Law students who are interested in becoming a Pathways mentor should contact Kate Blackmore.

Exeter Cohort 10 Pathways to Law Students Graduate

This year 37 students from 24 schools and colleges from across the region graduated. The graduates were joined at a ceremony on the University’s Streatham campus by family and friends, academics, law firms and other organisations that have provided support.

View story>>

View photos in 2024 Graduation gallery>>

Group of Pathways to Law students standing outside the front of Reed Hall

Pathways to Law is jointly funded and managed by The Sutton Trust and the University of Exeter