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The Helen Grindrod Social Mobility Prize for law students

Lincoln’s Inn has launched a new outreach prize for second year undergraduate law students to improve access to the profession for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

A lack of opportunity to network and to build knowledge and skills is consistently cited as a barrier to those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.  The aim of the Helen Grindrod Social Mobility Prize is to improve access for those who meet one or more of the eligibility criteria (detailed below) and to support high achieving students by providing them with experiences and opportunities that will help them make informed choices about their career at the Bar.

The prize is named after Helen Grindrod QC, a Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn who passed away in 2002.  Helen contributed a huge amount of her time to supporting our students, including as chair of the committee responsible for our student activities.   She was born and raised in Aigburth, Liverpool.  Her mother was a teacher and her father a warehouseman.  She won a scholarship to the Liverpool Institute High School for Girls and an exhibition to St Hilda’s College, Oxford, where she read English.  She was originally a teacher and started studying law at home after the birth of her son.  She was Called to the Bar in 1966, took Silk in 1982 and was elected a Bencher in 1990.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must currently be in the penultimate year of a qualifying law degree. They must also have attended a state school or a private school with the help of a means tested scholarship and meet one or more of the below criteria:

  • Ever been in receipt of free school meals
  • First in their family to attend university
  • Have parent(s)/guardian(s) who received income support or they themselves are in receipt of income or housing benefits
  • Spent time in care during their school years
  • Refugee status
  • Those who are or have been a young adult carer
  • Eligible for a maintenance loan from Student Finance of more than £6,700 per year

Our aim is to award at least 50% of the places to applicants of black or mixed black heritage.  The Bar Council’s Race at the Bar Report shows that applicants for pupillage of black heritage do proportionately less well in obtaining pupillage than white applicants.  The report also highlights that black barristers disproportionately practise in lower paying areas of the Bar.  Therefore, we have identified that those from lower socio-economic backgrounds who are also of black heritage face additional barriers to joining the profession.

Eight prizes will be awarded, and each winner will receive:

  • A monetary prize of £250
  • The opportunity to attend a Prize Winners Summer School, which includes networking and educational opportunities (this will take place on Wednesday 12 – Friday 14 July 2023 at Lincoln’s Inn. Accommodation and travel expenses will be arranged and paid for as part of the prize.)
  • Free membership of Lincoln’s Inn
  • A mentor
  • A mini-pupillage at a local or London chambers, funded from the Inn’s Mini-Pupillage Grant Scheme

Application Process

To apply for the prize, please complete this application form. The deadline for applications will be 5 pm on Monday 5 June. Please note, as part of your application, you will also be required to submit an academic reference. Referees will need to submit their reference using this form.

Please only apply if  you are available to take part in the Summer School at the Inn between Wednesday 12 – Friday 14 July 2023.

For more information about a career at the Bar or to sign up for our Outreach newsletter please visit our Becoming a Barrister webpage.

If you have any questions regarding the prize, or the Inn’s outreach work more generally, please email [email protected].