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Pathways to Law graduates with Professor Tim Quine and Richard Edwards. Photo credit: Matt Austin

Students graduate from Pathways to Law programme

29 students from 13 state schools and colleges from across the South West region graduated from the Pathways to Law programme, a national project which aims to inspire and support high achieving students from non-privileged backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a legal career. 

The Pathways to Law programme is offered at 12 universities, including the University of Exeter. Part of Exeter Progression, it is managed by The Sutton Trust and funded by The Legal Education Foundation. For the last two years, these students have engaged in academic and skills sessions, field trips, work experience, and in some cases, additional academic sessions and visits to partner Pathways to Law universities.

The graduation ceremony brought together individuals and organisations that have helped to support this programme throughout the past two years, including participating students and their guests, representatives from schools and colleges, University of Exeter Law academics and Professional Services staff, Law undergraduates, law alumni and donors, law firms, and other organisations that have provided work experience placements. 

Richard Edwards, Head of the Law School, stated: "It was fantastic to see the cohort graduating this evening, and to celebrate their success with them. We’re very proud of our graduates! The Pathways to Law programme is greatly treasured by the Law School. The Law must be a career open to talent irrespective of class or educational background. The programme is an excellent preparation for both further study or the world of work: it is a genuine springboard for talent".

Karen Ball, College Registrar for the College of Social Science and International Studies, said: “It was, as usual, a brilliant evening. Genuinely one of the highlights of the year to me as it is a reminder of the real engine of social change which Higher Education can be and how good it is to play a part in that.”

Throughout their two-year programme, the students were mentored by twelve undergraduate Law students. One of the mentors and a former graduate of the Pathways to Law programme, Joel Wish, said: “The Sutton Trust continues to be a fantastic charity for widening access to the professions and offering invaluable connections, experience and opportunities.  As a previous graduate of Pathways to Law and a current participant on the Pathways Plus programme, it is personally rewarding to support the work of a charity that has supported me over the years. I hope the Sutton Trust continues its fantastic work and I wish the cohort all the best for the future with whatever path they decide to take. I'd like to also thank those involved at the university for their support in making initiatives like this happen.”

Claire Maton, Programme Manager of The Sutton Trust stated: “The Sutton Trust would like to congratulate Cohort 9 from Exeter University for successfully completing the Pathways to Law Programme!  We hope that you have enjoyed it and found it useful. You have all been fantastic ambassadors for the programme, and you should be very proud of what you have achieved over the past two years. We hope the programme has given you the confidence and knowledge to pursue a career that you are passionate about. Whatever the next step is for each of you, we wish you the very best of luck.”

Professor Tim Quine, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) said: “The University of Exeter is very proud to collaborate in the delivery of the Pathways to Law programme to open up higher education to students from all backgrounds with a passion for Law and the clear potential to thrive at University. The programme is founded on an exceptional partnership that brings together young people, academics, student mentors, law partners and alumni. I am personally grateful to all who give up their time to make the programme such a success. It is clear from the excitement and enthusiasm of all the participants, students and mentors alike, that this programme will benefit them for years to come. It is especially pleasing to see former pathway students return to the programme as mentors for the current cohorts.”

The evening’s celebrations on Wednesday 26 April were facilitated by Professor Quine, Richard Edwards, Kate Blackmore (Pathways to Law Co-ordinator), Jason Elward and Joel Wish (Pathways to Law Mentors), and University of Exeter alumni, Steve Edge (Partner, Slaughter & May), Natasha Bellinger (Barrister, Magdalen Chambers), and Sarah Turvill (Chair of Council). 

Date: 15 May 2017

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