Applications open for devilling scholarships for 2024

23 Mar

APPLICATIONS are now being invited for scholarships offered through the Faculty of Advocates which can help ease financial tensions during the training period for the Bar.

Those hoping to begin devilling in 2024 should submit their applications by no later than 28 April this year. 

There are four scholarship schemes. They aim to remove barriers to membership of the Scottish Bar for those with the skills and motivation to practice as advocates. In the last five years, over 60 scholarships have been awarded, with over £350,000 worth of support provided to devils.

“These scholarships play a significant role in promoting and encouraging diversity at the Bar and are aimed at further lowering financial barriers to entry in addition to the free devilling training offered by Faculty.” said Ruth Crawford, KC, Treasurer of the Faculty of Advocates and chair of its Scholarship Committee. “All applicants must show sufficient ability, but greater weighting is given when awarding the Lord Hope, Faculty, and the SCLR Scholarships to those in financial need or to those from groups currently under-represented.”

The Lord Reid Scholarship is awarded in honour of the late Lord Reid of Drem from a bequest provided by him. One Lord Reid Scholarship is awarded annually to the most outstanding candidate. In recent years, the Lord Reid Scholarship award has been in the region of £10,000.

One or more Faculty Scholarships may also be awarded to candidates of particular merit. In recent years, Faculty Scholarship awards have been in the region of £5,000.

The SCLR Scholarship is generously funded by the Scottish Council of Law Reporting and is administered by the Faculty’s Scholarship Committee. The criteria and award levels are similar to those of the Faculty Scholarships.

The Lord Hope Scholarships are funded by contributions made by existing members of Faculty. The size and number of Lord Hope Scholarships depends on the need and number of eligible applicants but, often, around eight to 10 scholarship awards have been made for amounts ranging between £3,000 and £8,000.

“The scholarships offered by Faculty play a vital role in increasing diversity at the Bar. For me, receiving the Lord Reid scholarship let me complete my devilling when otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to afford to,” said current devil Clara Smeaton. “No matter how much a person is able to save in advance, for many people, having to get through a period of nine months devilling with no income is, at best, daunting and at worst could stop someone coming to the Bar altogether,” she added.

Her comments were echoed by a fellow devil, Deirdre Flanigan, who said: “The scholarship not only gave me the morale boost I desperately needed ahead of the application process but also funded my living costs throughout devilling. Quite simply without the scholarship I would not have been able to make it here.”

“I made the decision to become a devil because I wanted to be involved in court work at the highest level,” said Graham Horn. “However, the prospect of not having an income for nine months during devilling is pretty unnerving. In my case, that general worry is compounded by the fact that I have three young children to support. Being in receipt of a Lord Hope scholarship has provided me with vital financial support during devilling.” 

Ross Mitchell, who also received a Lord Hope Scholarship, said: “Coming to the Bar is a big decision for anyone no matter what stage in their career they decide to do so. The scholarships offered through the Faculty of Advocates play a key role in ensuring that financial barriers should not act as an impediment to lawyers coming to the Bar. As early as high school I can remember thinking about a career at the Bar, and the Lord Hope Scholarship I received played a key role in helping me finally realise that ambition.”

The deadline for applications for those intending to commence devilling in 2024 is Friday 28 April 2023. Applications will be decided well in advance of the final deadline for matriculating as an intrant for devilling in 2024. More details on the application process and further information are available here.