The charity created following the sale of the College of Law last year has today announced its first grants, with access to justice, the profession and education the focus.
With a capital endowment of approximately £200m, the Legal Education Foundation is probably the largest foundation in the sector.
Dedicated to the advancement of legal education and the study of law, it has today made grants to:
- Advocacy Training Council – training advocates to deal with vulnerable witnesses;
- Galleries of Justice in Nottingham – using historical legal buildings to teach children about law;
- British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) – providing free access to law reports on the internet;
- Law Centre Network – legal advice for those who are unable to pay for it;
- LawWorks – to support, promote and encourage a commitment to pro bono work;
- Pathways Phase 3 – encouraging young people from less socially advantaged backgrounds to enter the law.
LEF chairman Guy Beringer, former senior partner of Allen & Overy, said: “This is an important time for the legal sector. There are increased pressures on access to justice, access to the legal profession and access to legal education. These pressures affect the public as well as students of law and legal practitioners.
“We want the foundation to support the many innovative and creative projects which are responding to these pressures. As today’s announcement shows, the foundation will seek to support a wide variety of organisations and will cast its net widely to cover all forms of legal education in many different social, professional and academic settings.”
Projects the foundation is interested in supporting include:
- Filling gaps in the provision of legal education at academic and professional level;
- Innovation in the structure and delivery of teaching at academic and professional level;
- The development of public and civic legal education;
- The advancement of mobility and diversity initiatives which provide access to employment in the profession; and
- Thought leadership and research related to the development and structure of academic and professional legal education.
Julie Bishop, director of the Law Centres Network: “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant to provide training to law centre staff. Like the rest of the profession, they need to update their knowledge and skills continuously to ensure they provide an excellent service so some of the most vulnerable members of the community can enforce their rights.
“The grant has come at exactly the right time as the Ministry of Justice has cut funding for training. It is needed all the more now, with major changes to legal aid being implemented and charitable funding becoming tighter. We will be able to enhance its value through leverage of in kind contributions from legal firms.”
The application deadline for the next round of grants is October. See here  for more details.