Who we are
YLAL believes that the provision of good quality publicly funded legal help is essential to protecting the interests of the vulnerable in society and upholding the rule of law. We warmly invite applications from motivated and engaged individuals who would like to join the committee which steers our work.
Although we are not presently recruiting (we’ll post details on this page when we do), we believe that all recruitment processes should be transparent and hope that the following information is helpful to anyone who might be thinking of applying to join us in future. It sets out how we structure our work and how we recruit.
Our last recruitment call was in August 2021. At the time, we were looking to recruit YLAL committee members and also YLAL champions to promote the visibility of under-represented groups in the legal professions.
How we work
YLAL's work falls into three main areas:
- Legal aid policy;
- Social mobility; and
- Membership support.
Legal aid policy
This work aligns with YLAL’s objective to ‘campaign for a sustainable legal aid system, which provides good-quality legal help to those who could not otherwise afford to pay for it’. It includes engaging with the Ministry of Justice, working with the Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG) to co-ordinate the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Legal Aid, responding to consultations, and coordinating our legal aid campaign work.
This work aligns with YLAL’s objective to ‘promote the interests of new entrants and junior lawyers and to increase social mobility and diversity within the legal aid sector’. It aims to tackle the barriers faced by many entrants to the profession, including the need to undertake unpaid internships to gain legal experience, poorly paid entry-level jobs (e.g. being a paralegal), and reduced training contract and pupillage places. We are currently undertaking research in relation to changes to legal education for solicitors through the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) and will be compiling a new social mobility report in the coming months to follow up on our 2018 report, ‘Social Mobility in a Time of Austerity’.
This work aligns with YLAL’s objective to ‘provide a network for like-minded people beginning their careers in the legal aid sector’. It coordinates the support and services we provide our 3,500 members through our local groups and the events we put on across the country, our Jobs board, our mentoring scheme, our legal aid news bulletins, our blogs (Thanks to Legal Aid and Young Legal Aid Life), our website and our social media accounts (Twitter and Facebook).
The general time commitment for committee members is about four hours a week and an additional six committee meetings per year. We recognise that our members have many commitments and demands on their time, so ask that committee members support one another by assisting with other roles and ad hoc tasks when needed to cover, for example, holidays.
During lockdown, all committee meetings have been conducted online. As restrictions ease, we may move to having some meetings in person. These will be no more than three per year. They will be organised on a weekend and reasonable travel expenses will be paid as our committee members live across England and Wales.
What we look for
There are no minimum criteria for applying to join the YLAL committee. You do not need to have experience practising law and nobody is ever too junior to apply. We welcome applications from those who are relatively early on in their legal career, including students and paralegals.
We encourage applications from members across England and Wales.
Although there are no minimum criteria, we do take into account prior involvement with YLAL’s work, whether that be through volunteering or other forms of engagement. However, we are also conscious that many applicants will have excellent ideas for the development of YLAL and may not have had the opportunity to be involved previously, and this is something we take into consideration too.
Other particular skills, experiences and interests we're looking for
In addition to everything we’ve outlined above, we welcome applications from:
individuals studying in, practising in or hoping to practise in Wales
family practitioners (particularly paralegals and solicitors)
immigration practitioners (particularly case workers and solicitors)
individuals with skills, experience or interest in:
administration, including website management, WordPress and MailChimp
communications and press
policy work and/or campaigns
individuals from a range of professional backgrounds, including Chartered Legal Executives (CILEx), solicitor apprentices, paralegals and students
If any of these apply to you, we’d encourage you to discuss this in your application.
How we recruit
We operate a transparent recruitment process which is openly advertised as and when the need arises but usually once a year. The only exception to this process is where one of our members sets up a new YLAL branch and needs regular, committee-wide support. Our last recruitment call was in August 2021.
Not yet a member?
If you would like to apply to join the YLAL committee but are not yet a member and/or do not have any experience of our work, we recommend that you apply to become a member here and take a look at some of our volunteering opportunities here. We’re always looking for ways we can improve; if you have any ideas for new initiatives, please contact us.