Want to join the YLAL committee? YLAL is recruiting!
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.
Why are we recruiting?
In this recruitment round, we are looking for new members to help take YLAL forwards into the future and to provide better representation for our members.
Promoting social mobility in the legal profession has always been at the forefront of YLAL’s campaigning work. Although we don’t believe in tokenism, we accept that visibility is important:
- to help would-be and aspiring legal aid lawyers see themselves in the profession;
- to ensure that we represent all our members’ interests on the issues that are important to them in relation to our campaign aims;
- to provide a platform for networking; and
- to give all our members confidence that they are not alone.
With that in mind, we would particularly like to hear from anyone interested in being a ‘YLAL champion’ in this recruitment drive.
The work of a YLAL champion is to promote members’ interests on relevant issues and to foster positive relationships between people.
Being a YLAL champion won’t limit you to one type of work or prevent you from getting involved in the committee in any way you please. We came up with the idea of having champions simply because we recognise that, firstly, our committee is still not as representative as we would like it to be and, secondly, visibility is important for many people and particularly those with ‘hidden’ characteristics.
If you’re interested in becoming a YLAL champion, please let us know. We particularly welcome expressions of interest from champions for the following groups:
- Black YLALs
- Black, Brown and Racialised YLALs
- Career-changer YLALs
- Disabled YLALs
- First generation to go to uni YLALs
- LGBTQ+ YLALs
This list is not exhaustive. If you have your own idea for a group that you’d to champion, please let us know in your application form.
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 to apply
Applications are open until 11.59pm on Sunday 15 August 2021.
If you're interested, the application form is here.
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.