Law student diversity initiative launched by UCD in partnership with Mason Hayes & Curran

Law student diversity initiative launched by UCD in partnership with Mason Hayes & Curran

Pictured (L-R): Kevin Hoy, chair of Mason Hayes & Curran; Professor Imelda Maher, UCD Dean of Law; Professor Andrew J Deeks, president of UCD; and Judith Riordan, partner at Mason Hayes & Curran

A new initiative to encourage greater diversity and inclusion in the legal profession has been launched by UCD Sutherland School of Law in partnership with Mason Hayes & Curran.

The student support initiative, called Opportunity, will provide a a suite of resources for students from under-represented groups, and communities with typically low progression rates to third level education, in pursuing a successful career in and with law.

Starting with early intervention programmes at primary school level, the supports are holistic and tailored to each student, providing scholarships, travel bursaries, post-graduate opportunities, alumni mentoring, law firm internships and early career support.

According to UCD, its innovation lies in its support and guidance before and after its four-year undergraduate programmes, recognising that the core student experience will be more impactful and effective if underpinned by critical bridges and transitions in the pre- and post- undergraduate phases.

Speaking at the launch, Kevin Hoy, chair of Mason Hayes & Curran, said: “Ireland is the first country in the world where women constitute more than 50 per cent of the solicitors’ profession, but we have much to do for our legal professions to be truly representative on a socio-economic basis.

“A modern society needs diversity in the law and UCD Sutherland Opportunity supported by Mason Hayes & Curran will help achieve that goal. We in Mason Hayes & Curran hope that our contribution will enable students from modest financial backgrounds today to become the extraordinary lawyers of tomorrow.”

Professor Imelda Maher, UCD Dean of Law, said: “UCD Sutherland School of Law is now among the top 50 law schools globally and we want to ensure that students from marginalised sections of our society can also participate and benefit from a degree in law at UCD.

“The number of UCD law students from under-represented groups has doubled in two years from 27 students in 2016 to 59 in 2018, and we can now accelerate that activity through this programme. We’re privileged to have the support of Mason Hayes & Curran and their visionary leadership on this project, and also for the partnership of UCD Access & Lifelong Learning.”

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