Pathways to Law Students graduate
36 students from 19 state schools and colleges from across the southwest region graduated as part of National Cohort 14 from the Pathways to Law programme on April 6 2022, and celebrated their achievements in style at Reed Hall on Exeter’s Streatham campus.
The Pathways to Law programme is a national project currently offered at 13 universities, including the University of Exeter, which aims to inspire and support high achieving students from less advantaged backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a legal career. Jointly funded and managed by The Sutton Trust the programme provides an exciting range of activities and experiences which will provide insight, experience, inspiration, and confidence for the future.
Pathways to Law is integrated into our main Fair Access programme, Exeter Scholars, and as such our young people will have engaged in both virtual and face-to-face activity, including academic and skills sessions, work experience, and other opportunities offered through both the Exeter Scholars and Sutton Trust Online platforms. Our 2022 graduates are the University’s 8th Cohort, and nationally part of the 14th cohort.
The evening celebrations brought together individuals and organisations that have helped to support this programme throughout the last 15 months, including participating students and their guests, University of Exeter Law academics and professional services staff, law undergraduates, and our alumni, law firms and other organisations that have provided session support, work experience placements or other insight opportunities.
The law firms and organisations who have either supported the delivery of Cohort 14 Pathways to Law sessions or provided work placement experience, or other insight activities include: Bates Wells LLP, Browne Jacobson LLP, Exeter Crown & County Courts, Francis Taylor Building, Humphries Kirk LLP, Magdalen Chambers, Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP), Squire Patton Boggs LLP, The Family Law Company, Tozers LLP, Wade Boult Tennant LLP and Winckworth Sherwood LLP.
Professor Sue Prince (Head of Law School) was delighted to open and close the ceremony and share in the celebrations with all the graduating students. Sue has been an avid founding supporter of the programme since its inception at Exeter in 2013 and gave thanks and praise to all the supporters of the programme.
Annie Mc Anulty (Senior Programmes Officer Manager) attended the event as a guest speaker with her colleague Rhian Thomas from The Sutton Trust and spoke warmly of the experience: “It has been so wonderful to work with this group of Pathways to Law students through out the year and watch their skills, experience & confidence grow. The 2022 graduation was a special event, it was truly inspiring and to see these students celebrate their success. I am so excited to see where this programme takes them.”
Kiera Riddy, a previous Pathways to Law student at Exeter who is now working at Browne Jacobson LLP as a Pupil Barrister in Exeter also attended the event as a guest speaker: “It was an absolute honour to be invited to celebrate this year’s Pathways to Law graduation ceremony. As a previous Pathways student being asked to speak and offer advice to the current participants is always an amazing experience. I know first hand the extent the programme can help and the excellent experiences it offers, without which I would not be where I am today. It is great to see so many diverse and talented students considering a career in law, and I truly hope to see them amongst the profession in the years to come. Congratulations!”
Natasha Bellinger, Law Lecturer at the University of Exeter and Barrister at Magdalen Chambers, and also a passionate supporter of the programme since 2013, was also invited to speak at the event and commented: “It is inspiring to meet such passionate young people who are interested in a career as a lawyer, which is why I love participating in the Pathways to Law programme and seeing these wonderful students with such potential graduate. I am proud to be a part of the University and the local legal community who support widening access to the Bar”.
Matthew Channon, Law Lecturer and WP lead for Widening Participation within the Law School spoke warmly of the students achievements, particularly in such a difficult year: "Congratulations on your graduation, this is a wonderful accomplishment which has taken dedication and hard work".
Pathways to Law Coordinator, Kate Blackmore was delighted with the evenings celebrations and stated how proud she was to see them progress from the start of the programme to graduating: “The Pathways to Law students inspire me every year with their ability to combine their academic studies with the demands of the Pathways to Law programme, and all their other amazing extra-curricular activities that they are involved in. This year’s Cohort has been particularly challenged through two turbulent educational years which have been affected by the impact of Covid but have shown determination and resilience throughout this time to engage with the programme and succeed. I have really enjoyed working with each and every one of them and wish them all the best in their futures. I also wish to thank all the supporters of the programme for ensuring that these students gain the best possible opportunities and experiences that are on offer, and for enabling them to gain such unique insights into law as a career and the various professions within it”.
The evening’s celebrations on Wednesday 6th April were facilitated by Professor Sue Prince, Annie Mc Anulty, Kiera Riddy, Natasha Bellinger, and Kate Blackmore. Photos courtesy of Emily Appleton (Emily Appleton Event Photography)