Blog Post

Barrington Hibbert Associates renews partnership with UCL Laws to support socioeconomic diversity in legal profession

As part of an ongoing commitment to tackle socioeconomic diversity in professional and financial services, Barrington Hibbert Associates (BHA) has extended its partnership with the UCL Faculty of Laws to create The Francis Boateng scholarship, a second three-year scholarship that will support an undergraduate student studying LLB Law.

Francis Boateng was a participant in the 10,000 Black Interns programme, and a former mentee, and friend of Barrington Hibbert Associates, who sadly passed away in October 2023.

Cost has been cited as one of the greatest barriers to entry for those wishing to enter the legal profession. According to research from the Solicitors Regulation Authority, law remains one of the least socioeconomically diverse professions in the UK. Figures showed that only 17% of lawyers come from a lower socioeconomic background. Meanwhile 22% of all lawyers attended a fee-paying school, compared to just 7% of people nationally.

Working with UCL Laws, BHA aims to play a role in addressing this imbalance. Open to applicants in financial need, the scholarship will support a student with fees and/or maintenance for the duration of their degree starting in the 2023/24 academic year.

Michael Barrington-Hibbert, CEO of Barrington Hibbert Associates, said:

“For the legal profession to function effectively, it is important that it is reflective of the society it serves and operates within. However, data continually tells us that this is not the case, and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are starkly underrepresented in the sector.  

Even with the progress that we have made with diversity in recent years, the current cost of living crisis has really highlighted the need for us to ensure that we do not overlook socioeconomic diversity. Regardless of their background or circumstances, the brightest, most talented minds should be given the opportunity to shine.  

Having already partnered with UCL Laws last year, we were able to see firsthand the positive impact of the scholarship, and we are excited to be able to extend and amplify this for a second year.

Francis was a selfless, disciplined and focused young man who cared deeply for his friends and family. It is an honour to be able to dedicate this scholarship to his memory.”

Ranked first in the country for law by the Guardian University Guide 2024, UCL Laws combines excellence in legal education with a commitment to care, creating a diverse, inclusive community where students and staff can flourish.

UCL Laws Vice Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Dr Lucinda Miller said:

“We are thrilled that Barrington Hibbert Associates will partner with UCL Laws again and create another three-year scholarship for our LLB programme. All students, regardless of their financial circumstances, deserve the opportunity to participate and excel on our rigorous programme of legal studies. The scholarship will provide financial stability for the recipient, enabling them to focus on their academic studies and chart their path towards academic success.

Our ongoing partnership with BHA is hugely important to us. It reflects our shared ambition for a truly diverse and inclusive legal education, and one which is not closed to those without wealth. By continuing to support us in this way, BHA signals its trust in UCL Laws as an institution deeply committed to social mobility and to ensuring that members of the legal profession reflect the society that they serve. We are incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work with Michael Barrington-Hibbert again this year to make this commitment a reality.”