About this blog
This blog is run by Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL), a group of students, paralegals, trainee solicitors, pupil barristers and qualified junior lawyers who are committed to practising publicly funded areas of law in England and Wales.
The Government says that lawyers are “fat cats” and that legal aid is too expensive. Read our mythbuster to combat this and other common misconceptions about legal aid here.
Working for people that need help is a privilege and we are lucky to do it. We hope this blog can show our motivation in seeking a career in legal aid is to do just that: to help people in a time of crisis. Simply put, if we were motivated by money we would be in another job.
The cuts to legal aid in 2013 have had a devastating impact on access to justice for vulnerable people. Good lawyers won’t stay in business if these cuts go ahead. This means that people who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer will be less able to find a lawyer who can provide them with advice and representation.
We are worried that only rich students will be able to afford to pursue a career in legal aid because it will pay so little. This will make the legal aid profession less diverse and will mean that future legal aid lawyers will have little or no personal experience akin to their clients’ lives. Read YLAL’s 2013 report about the barriers that exist for people wanting to get into legal aid and the impact we thought the cuts would have on social mobility in the profession. You can also read our updated social mobility report from 2018, which considers the changes made and the impact they have had.
The Government should stop targeting cuts that affect the most vulnerable people who have the most to lose. Everyone should be able to get first class justice. At YLAL we believe that good lawyers should be valued just like good nurses, firefighters and other public servants.
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If you would like to contact YLAL about this blog, please submit your comments below.