Pathways to Law

Pathways to Law is run by the Sutton Trust and funded by the Legal Education Foundation

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Pathways to Law

Pathways to Law is an innovative and exciting programme, which provides fantastic opportunities for sixth form students who are interested in law. Run by the Sutton Trust and funded by the Legal Education Foundation, Pathways is offered at 12 UK universities, including the University of Exeter. The programme targets high-achieving students in state schools and colleges who will be the first generation in their family to attend university, and aims to raise their aspirations and provide them with the skills and confidence to pursue a successful legal career.

Pathways to Law at the University of Exeter is open to students who satisfy most, if not all, of the following criteria:

  • Have an interest in studying law and/or a legal career;
  • Are starting Year 12;
  • Attend a state school or college in the South West of England (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset or Dorset);
  • Have at least five A*s or As at GCSE; and
  • EITHER will be the first generation in their family to attend university, OR are/have been eligible for free school meals.

Applicants must also be enthusiastic and show a willingness and ability to commit fully to the demands of the Pathways to Law programme.

Applications are now closed for the current intake.

If you have any questions regarding the application process or your eligibility for Pathways to Law, please contact Kate Blackmore, Pathways to Law Coordinator.

The Pathways to Law programme is made up of a number of activities which are common to all Pathways universities.

Each university runs a series of bespoke activities for their individual Pathways to Law cohort. Students on the Exeter Pathways programme will take part in the following activities:

Academic sessions

These will be a mixture of lectures and seminars, and will be delivered by expert staff from the Law School. The exact session details are subject to change each year, but the programme is likely to include:

  • English legal system & sources of law
  • Law, politics & the constitution
  • Criminal law
  • Law & business
  • Law & morality
  • Human rights & justice

Other academic opportunities

You will have the opportunity in taking part in other law-related activities or events that are offered through our central widening participation programme of events. Successful previous events such as An Introduction to MootingUK in Europe and You have been Selected for Jury Service, have all offered students an opportunity to extend their academic experience and team working skills. Specific events such as 'An Introduction to Mooting',  will provide an insight and experience of structured legal debating, and will help students develop their public speaking and advocacy skills. 

Client interviewing

You will learn how to conduct a legal client interview, taking on the role of a solicitor trying to obtain detailed information from your newest "client".

Visits to legal institutions

You will visit courts, law firms and barristers' chambers, both in Exeter and further afield. The programme will also include a visit to London, where you will be able to see some of the most important and influential English legal institutions.

Work experience

You will complete a 3-5 day work experience placement at a law firm, barristers' chambers, law courts or in-house legal team.

National conference

This 4 day residential conference, held at Warwick University, brings together Pathways to Law students from across the country to take part in a wide-ranging programme of activities.


You will be assigned an undergraduate law student mentor who will support you throughout your time as a Pathways to Law student. Communications are carried out via a secure online platform created and managed by the Brightside Trust.


All students attend a Pathways to Law graduation ceremony at the end of the programme, where you will be presented with a certificate from a member of the legal profession.

Supporting your career development

You will receive expert help and guidance in areas such as CV-writing and interview skills, along with support with your UCAS applications and personal statement. You will also take part in a skills session to help you prepare for your LNAT test which is required at some universities when applying for Law.

You will gain a lot from taking part in the Pathways to Law programme. It is impossible to list all of the programme's benefits, but here is a small selection to give you some idea:

Alternative offer

Students who successfully complete Pathways to Law and decide to apply to the University of Exeter will be eligible for an alternative offer. Depending on your chosen course, this offer will be up to two A-Level grades, or equivalent, below the standard entry offer.

Increased knowledge

Taking part in Pathways to Law will significantly increase your knowledge and understanding of what law is like, both at university and as a career. This increased understanding will give you a headstart when thinking about your future career path.

New skills

Through Pathways to Law you will develop some of the most essential skills for your future, such as teamwork, analysis, communication and presentation skills. You will also have lots of opportunities to interact with fellow students and legal professionals, allowing you to develop confidence and good networking skills.

And many more...

As well as these benefits, Pathways to Law is enjoyable, interesting, and a great way to make new friends!

Pathways to Law students will complete a 3-5 day work experience placement whilst on the programme. These placements normally take place at February half-term, but can also take place during the Easter or Summer holidays. Placements may take place within one of many legal settings, such as a law firm, barristers’ chambers, County or Crown Courts or in-house legal team.

The University of Exeter gratefully acknowledge the support of the following organisations in providing quality work experience placements for our students:

The Justin Bickle Scholarship is for Pathways to Law students who have attended a state school within England, and have received an offer to study an LLB (full time) at the University of Exeter starting in September 2017.

Find out more.

Pathways to Law students are supported throughout their time on the programme by a mentor. These mentors are first and second year law students at the University of Exeter, and they provide information and guidance to their mentees based on their own personal experiences prior to and since starting a law degree.

Law students who are interested in becoming a Pathways mentor should contact Kate Blackmore.