A new charity to support prospective lawyers from less advantaged backgrounds is being set up by the Law Society of Scotland.

Launching later this spring, the Lawscot Foundation will offer financial assistance and mentoring support to help underprivileged students as they study for their law degree or the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice. It will be registered as a Scottish charitable incorporated organisation (SCIO) under the name The Law Society of Scotland Education Foundation.

The initiative is part of the Society’s work on fair access to the profession, following a fair access review in 2013 which examined potential barriers to entering the legal profession. The Society has also pressed political parties to consider how access to university can be made fairer in its priorities document for this year's Scottish Parliament election.

Announcing the move at the official opening of the Soicety's new offices yesterday evening, Christine McLintock, President of the Society, said: “We know from research that mentoring support is of equal importance to financial assistance and with that in mind, in addition to providing financial assistance, the Lawscot Foundation will provide a mentoring scheme which will link the students with experienced solicitors to offer guidance, advice, support and encouragement.”

The event saw Dunbar Grammar pupils Heather Cameron and Zosia Kuczok cut the ribbon to declare the new office at Atria One, in Morrison Street, Edinburgh, officially open. Both girls are participants in the new "Exceptional programme" run by the education charity Impressive People, a charity which works with successful former pupils to raise the confidence and aspirations of students in state schools.