Inspiring the next generation of leading lawyers in Sheffield

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Talented school pupils hoping to become the next generation of leading legal professionals have been given a unique insight into their aspiring future careers at a special event at the University of Sheffield.

More than 60 Year 12 students from across East Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire took part in the innovative event which aims to encourage and support gifted pupils from all social and ethnic backgrounds who would otherwise find the cost of legal training unaffordable.

The event, which was hosted in partnership with the Kalisher Trust and the David Ross Education Trust (DRET), gave pupils a taster of university life and the opportunity to work with inspiring mentors including one of the world’s leading judges and the Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Rt Hon Lady Justice Rafferty.

Dame Anne, who became a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2011, studied Law at the University of Sheffield and graduated in 1971. She is also a Trustee of the Kalisher Trust, which supports students who are unable to come to the criminal Bar due to financial constraints.

The Trust funds at least two students every year by paying for the Bar Professional Training Course, the year-long vocational qualification which can cost up to £14,000, and also awards a number of bursaries.

Speaking at the event Dame Anne said: “This University shaped my career by shaping me – I was well taught here.

“I believe with every fibre in me that education is the transformer and there is no substitute for meeting and working with young people in person.

“It is events like this that should be a happy marriage of aspiration and encouragement for these wonderful youngsters.

“It is also so encouraging to see the generosity of the student ambassadors who can’t do enough to help – without them this event wouldn’t be possible.”

During the day students worked with several prominent High Court judges, barristers and the Director of Education from the Kalisher Trust Euan Clarke, whilst conducting their own inquiry; learnt how to create the best UCAS application for the leading UK universities and were given a taster of student life and a campus tour.

Professor Shearer West, Deputy-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “A little more than 100 years ago the University was founded by local factory workers, miners and people putting pennies together, literally, because they wanted a university here in Sheffield.

“The values that lay behind that desire for education are still here with us today.

“We are a University committed to supporting young people to achieve their full potential in life whatever their backgrounds.

“We hope that this event will give students the confidence and the encouragement to know that university is a place for everyone – whatever their aspirations are.”

James Busson, Head of Outreach and Widening Participation at the University of Sheffield, said: “This event has hopefully given the young people a real flavour of what studying at university is really like, and that a career in law is within their reach if they focus and work hard.

“Activities like these are essential part of our Outreach work here at the University of Sheffield, showcasing that Higher Education is a possibility for everyone regardless of their background.”