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Pathways to Law

The Sutton Trust

The Sutton Trust is an educational and social mobility charity, founded in 1997. The Trust’s aim is to fight for social mobility from birth to the workplace, so that every young person – no matter who their parents are, what school they go to, or where they live – has the chance to succeed in life. It offers a range of activities for students to promote this change, and carries out research to inform its own strategies and government policy. It has 35000 alumni and helps upwards of 5000 students every year through various initiatives.

To help achieve its aims, the Sutton Trust identified various careers that are very competitive, traditionally the reserve of students from advantaged backgrounds, but also offer excellent opportunities for social mobility for those from under-represented backgrounds.

Through the Pathways Programmes, the Sutton Trust aims to empower students to make informed choices about their future, and equip them with knowledge and experience that will get them to where they want to be.

Pathways to Law


What is it?

Pathways to Law is two-year programme: students take part in Years 12 and 13 (lower- and upper-sixth equivalent).

How can I apply?

Students apply to their nearest participating university via the Sutton Trust and are shortlisted by university coordinators; shortlisting criteria include:

    • Will they be first in their family to go to university?
    • Are they, or have they ever been in, care?
    • Are they in receipt of the 16-19 bursary, or have they ever been eligible for Free School Meals (FSM)?
    • Does their school/college have a low level of progression to higher education, and/or high percentage of FSM students?
    • Do students in their postcode tend to progress to university?
    • Do they meet the academic requirements for the programme i.e. strong GCSE results?

Applications for Pathways to Law open after GCSE results day for students going in to year 12, and students apply via the Sutton Trust website.

What's involved?

The programme is overseen by Sutton Trust with a core programme, including:

    • Work experience
    • Residential National Conference for Pathways Students at University of Warwick
    • Inner Temple visit in Year 13

Further opportunities are planned and managed by university coordinators for additional exposure to the study of, and careers in, law. Activities include:

    • Meeting legal professionals in a range of roles
    • CV and personal statement workshops
    • CPD-style workshops e.g. team work, leadership, public speaking
    • University experience days and academic taster sessions

Programme benefits and expectations

Completely free to attend

Any costs incurred by students are paid for or reimbursed by their host university


A minimum of 60% attendance is required at events, and students must follow conduct agreements for successful completion


Students are eligible for reduced grade requirements for entry to participating universities, and gain a wide array of transferrable skills that will benefit them in many academic and professional paths

All Pathways participants, along with the majority of programme applicants, also receive access to Sutton Trust Online – an online platform with resources and events such as webinars to help guide students through university applications and beyond.

If you are a legal professional or law academic interested in getting involved with the Pathways to Law programme at Leeds, please email Verity Bedford-Read, Pathways to Law Coordinator, at