Cash will strengthen vital sector during COVID recovery.
A fund providing up to £1 million to support 40 new legal aid trainees opens today (3 June).
The government fund will be managed by the Law Society of Scotland and support new talent through the duration of their traineeships.
The support package will increase the capacity and capability of the legal aid profession in Scotland by providing employment and training opportunities.
It will support full and part time trainees as Scotland emerges from COVID-19 with awards made on a first-come first-served basis to firms meeting the eligibility criteria.
The funding also aims to increase diversity and equality within the legal profession by the recruitment and retention of trainees from under-represented groups across the legal profession including people with a disability, from minority ethnic communities or from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Applications can be made through the Law Society of Scotland’s website: https://www.lawscot.org.uk/traineeshipfund/ .
Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham said:
“I am hugely grateful to the Law Society of Scotland which has worked in collaboration with the Scottish Government for its robust help setting up this scheme, which will result in an injection of fresh talent into this vital sector.
“A key priority for this government is to support economic regeneration and development and maintain the important role of Scotland’s legal profession as the justice system emerges from the pandemic.
“This is part of a wider range of measures Scottish Government is putting in place to help the legal aid sector and we remain fully committed to providing support to the profession.”
To be eligible to apply for the funding, firms must have at least 20% of their business come from legal aid work and trainees hired as a result of grants will need to spend the majority of their time working on legal aid cases.
The grants are intended to fund new legal aid traineeships only and applications will not be accepted to support legal aid firms’ existing trainees.
The traineeship fund was announced by the Scottish Government in December last year, as part an overarching support package for the legal aid sector.
Scottish Government has put in place a package of support for the legal aid sector worth up to £20 million, which includes a resilience fund for legal aid firms and law centres worth up to £9 million.