Our Future Stars Programme

  • 01/09/2022

On 2 November 1877, the Stephen Heelis Prize was established for students under the age of 26 who were articled in Manchester or Salford and who achieved the best examination results.  Between then and 1924, various other solicitors in the region created their own philanthropic foundations to support people seeking to access the legal profession.


On 17 September 1971, Manchester Law Society created the Manchester Law Society Educational Foundation which consolidated each of these earlier foundations into a single entity, in order to use its funds “in the furtherance of the legal education and training and the advancement in life of … persons who are training in Manchester, Salford or the neighbourhood thereof to be solicitors”.


What was true in 1877 and was true in 1971 remains just as true today.  It is a critical part of the profession’s responsibility to ensure that it provides opportunities to people from all parts of society to enter the profession and to support the delivery of legal services to society as a whole.


Against this background, Manchester Law Society is thrilled to introduce its new Future Stars Programme which will support people wanting to enter into the profession by offering both practical and financial support.  True to its longstanding roots, the Future Stars Programme is designed to support either people from the Manchester and Salford region or people wanting to qualify into the profession in order to work in Manchester or Salford – whether that be as a solicitor or a barrister.


Over the last few months, a small group of individuals within Manchester Law Society has been working to design and develop the Future Stars Programme in order to provide what we hope will be a great platform to help people join the legal profession.  The culmination of that hard work will see a launch event take place in November, where we will be inviting people from around the region to come and learn more about the Future Stars Programme, how it can support individuals and how the profession can collectively help provide the next generation of lawyers in the region.


The Future Stars Programme will be a network of aspiring individuals working their way towards qualifying as a solicitor or barrister.  We will invite at least 10 people to join each year and they will remain part of the scheme until qualification.  The Future Stars Programme will enable participants to network with each other and with law firms/barrister chambers across the region; obtain mentoring and coaching; and receive additional practical support (eg job interview training).


Separately, utilising the funds in the Manchester Law Society Educational Foundation, those who are admitted to the Future Stars Programme will be entitled to apply for financial support which can be simply to help support an individual financially or to help directly with their education/qualification – for example, it could include money to purchase a suit for an interview, a contribution to a laptop, or money for text books.

The Future Stars Programme is being led by Manchester Law Society’s Immediate Past President, Matt Taylor, who commented that:


“In many ways, it is harder than ever before for people to gain access into the legal profession and there is a very real risk that, without proactive help and support, we will not attract a diverse talent base from all parts of society into the profession in order to be the lawyers of the future.


I’m therefore delighted that we are able to launch the Future Stars Programme which has been carefully designed to provide individuals with more opportunities and more access to the profession, together with financial support where appropriate.


Manchester Law Society has an unrivalled network within the region which it can rely upon in order to unlock opportunities and to help grow and develop the local profession.  I urge everyone to get involved wherever they can to provide support as collectively we will make a huge difference.”


This is therefore a call to arms.  We would ask that everyone associated with Manchester Law Society consider how they could support the Future Stars Programme as any support, no matter how much or how little, will make a difference.  There is no fixed way in which that support can be provided and we would welcome any suggestions or offers people have.  For law firms/barristers chambers, that support could be practical in the provision of space for meetings or access to some of your people/events; alternatively, it could be financial with modest contributions to the Manchester Law Society Educational Foundation.  For individuals, it could involve offering a few hours a year to mentor or coach an individual through the early stages of their career, or to speak at an event, or just to write short practical articles about your own route into the profession.


Please do get in touch about how you can support the Future Stars Programme.  Together we can make a real difference.


To book a place at the Future Stars Launch Event on 8th November 2022 click here or to register your interest is supporting the programme with work experience or as a mentor please email [email protected]