MALA is committed to widening access to the legal profession, in particular, by improving knowledge of and access to the legal profession for BME students at schools and colleges.
MALA aims to encourage children from inner city areas, especially from BME backgrounds, to consider the legal profession as a potential career. MALA believes that students should be made aware of the legal profession as early as possible, before GCSEs, to allow them access to the same information and opportunities as those children from schools with connections to lawyers. MALA believes that promoting access at college or university, which many programmes currently do, is too late to increase prospects of entry into the profession. This is because of the high academic standards required for law; if we are to encourage entry into the profession, it must be well before A-Level grades are awarded.
MALA believes that the legal profession should reflect the society it serves. To improve diversity in the legal profession, children who do not have a lawyer in the family, or whose school is not connected to one, should be provided the same opportunities to explore, learn about and develop an interest in the profession.
As such, our programme is developed for delivery to KS3 and KS4; years 7 to 11, using age-appropriate language, interaction, media and props. It is FREE to schools, funded completely by MALA.
The programme has three limbs, any of which may be requested by a school for delivery to their children according to their specific needs. MALA offers:
Special Assemblies looking at the legal profession
Talks covering different aspects of the legal profession
Workshop-based programme over 3-4 hours
The programme is delivered by qualified and practicing lawyers only. While we welcome all lawyers who wish to volunteer and donate their time, we match lawyers who reflect the ethnic make-up of the school itself, to help the children see themselves in the profession.
Special Assemblies aim to introduce the legal system and the legal profession to students, teaching the importance of the rule of law, the role of lawyers and judges and the purpose of a court. It is always interactive but may additionally include slides or videos depending on facilities. The content is tailored to the time requested by the school.
Talks cover the same general topics as an assembly in a short format but then cover a specific topic in more detail. Our talks are written for KS3 and 4 students and are designed to be interactive, light-hearted and interesting. The topics covered by each talk are:
What are lawyers? This covers the legal profession and the role of barristers, solicitors and judges in the legal system. It also looks at lawyers' duties, misconceptions about lawyers and the benefits or challenges of being a lawyer.
Being a judge This covers the role of a court in society and the role of a judge in court. It covers how a person becomes a judge, their working day, and the challenges or rewards of being a judge. It also looks at the different types of judge.
What is the law This looks at the concept of a rule-based society, the presumption of innocence, equality before the law and how the law operates, with a discussion of the common complaints about the legal system.
How I became a lawyer This is a personal talk delivered by a solicitor or barrister looking at their journey to the profession from their family background to their day to day work; looking at why they became a lawyer and what they enjoy about being one.
Each of these talks is a self-contained event and the school can pick one or arrange a series with different speakers, over a number of weeks. They are timed to meet the needs of the school but require a minimum of 40 minutes.
Workshop This format builds on the talks, however, includes a number of skills and practical exercises, exposing students to the kind of work lawyers do. They use a fictional case to explore different aspects of being a lawyer, such as interviewing a client, cross examination, making a speech and being persuasive. This format requires assistance from teachers and breaks into group exercises of 4-6 students. It is delivered over a period of two lessons depending on the breaks required by the school.
Criteria for Participation
The MALA Schools Programme is open to any inner city school in Birmingham or Leicester. The school may be an academy or comprehensive school but private fee-paying schools are excluded.
Schools must agree to provide teachers to assist in the delivery of the programme, appropriate to the needs of the specific event organised. It must also agree to permit MALA to photograph delivery of the programme for its website or other material. Where any children are identifiable, MALA will provide a consent form for that child's parents.
MALA will happily share any pictures it takes with the school if the school wishes to use them itself.
MALA's resources are completely free to the school. We offer practising lawyers to engage children on an interesting and worthwhile profession, which is readily accessible to specific chilldren in society but not enough children in inner city areas or from BME backgrounds. Our programme encourages children to aim high, think about their future vocation, the importance of study and extra-curricular achievements and promotes a positive sense of belonging.
Further, many parts of the programme develop concepts of citizenship, equality, diversity and community, as the law is an essential component of each on of these.
Our programme can be tailored to fit into a school's PHSME or Citizenship education, to bring in a different experience for assembly or a school afternoon or as part of GCSE subjects (for example, texts involving lawyers under study in English or Drama).
Ultimately, MALA aims to develop positive working relationships with schools to promote the legal profession and have made this programme school and child-centred, without cost or signficant commitment to the school.
If you have any enquiries or wish to discuss participation, please contact us.