Academically gifted students from less advantaged backgrounds can now apply for a new source of funding to pursue their ambition to enter the legal profession.

Set up by the Law Society of Scotland, the Lawscot Foundation is offering prospective law students in Scotland who meet the criteria, funding of around £2,500 for each of the five years of study at undergraduate degree and postgraduate diploma level. In addition to financial support, bursary recipients will also be mentored by trainee and experienced solicitors throughout their studies.

The Lawscot Foundation is a charity established to help talented young people overcome financial constraints to pursue a career in law. A fundraising drive since the Foundation was launched in May 2016 has raised enough for the Society to begin accepting applications. Donations included more than a quarter of a million pounds from the Society itself, as the proceeds of sale of its stake in Legal Post.

Liz Campbell, executive director of education, training and qualifications at the Society commented: “We have a responsibility to promote diversity in the legal profession not only as an employer but as the professional body for Scottish solicitors and to the profession as a whole. 2014 research revealed that fewer than one in 12 entrants to the LLB came from the most deprived backgrounds – a situation which we saw as unacceptable. The Lawscot Foundation is one mechanism by which we can work to redress the balance in terms of fair access to the profession.”

Qualified and trainee solicitors have also signed up to offer the mentoring element of the scheme.

Eligible students must have an offer to study an LLB degree starting in 2017 at an accredited Scottish university, have financial circumstances which might prevent them attending university, and be currently at school or have left within the last two years.

Students who think they may be eligible can click here for further information and details of how to apply. There is a "strict deadline" of 29 May 2017.