Street Law, the Law Society of Scotland's programme to interest school pupils in the law, has been shortlisted for innovation in the inaugural UK Social Mobility Awards.

The programme is one of six named in the Innovation category, in which rival nominees include Legal Social Mobility Partnership and Law firm Simmins & Simmons.

Sponsored by PwC and the RAF, and organised by social mobility charity Making The Leap, the new awards celebrate and recognise forward-thinking organisations which are developing initiatives to promote social mobility, within their own workforce, or by influencing the debate from beyond their own walls. 

The judging panel includes prominent figures from business, charity, politics and the public sector and is chaired by the Lord Lieutenant of London, Ken Olisa OBE. The winners will be announced at an awards gala on 12 October 2017.

Mr Olisa said: "Pick up any newspaper or check out any social media thread and you will read arguments about increasing inequality in our country. And worse, much of the blame is laid at the feet of business. Yet this depressing backdrop is far from the whole picture – happily there are many pioneering organisations doing something to reverse the apparent tide. These awards will identify and recognise those leaders with the hope that this will become the start of a movement for change.”

Heather McKendrick, head of careers and outreach at the Law Society of Scotland, commented: “Being named as a finalist in the first Social Mobility Awards is an accolade in itself. We’re delighted that our Street Law programme has been recognised.

“Street Law, which sees law students deliver lessons to Scottish school pupils in disadvantaged areas through a series of tailored, interactive sessions, is grounded in the experience of the young people. The sessions examine practical law, legal policy and the constitution and focus not only on understanding what the law is but, crucially, help initiate discussion on what the law ‘ought to be’. The classes use the pupils’ own experiences, to develop lifelong skills and, along with boosting the pupils’ knowledge and skills, our Street Law programme is also committed to raising aspirations and encouraging those from less advantaged backgrounds to consider further studies or a career in law."

Supported by Pinsent Masons, Ashursts and CMS, Street Law has grown from working in just eight schools in 2014 to delivering 30 programmes in 40 schools involving more than 1,000 pupils last year.