Want to join the YLAL committee?
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.
How we work
YLAL's work falls into three main areas:
- Legal Aid Policy;
- Social Mobility; and
- Membership Support.
We coordinate this work through three 'teams', which are each managed by one of YLAL's three co-chairs, and peopled by individuals from the committee. We set out their work briefly below:
Legal Aid Policy
- The work of this team 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 team’s 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 team’s 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 four 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.
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 2020.
What we look for
There is 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.
There is also no requirement to be based in London and we welcome applications from those outside of London. In non-pandemic times we usually meet in person four times a year in London for committee meetings (reasonable travel expenses are covered for those not based in London under YLAL’s expenses policy), but during lockdown we've moved these meetings online and can continue to do this so that geography isn't a barrier.
Although there is no minimum criteria, we do prioritise applications from people who have regularly been involved with YLAL’s work, whether that be through volunteering or other forms of engagement.
Our last recruitment round
To give you an idea of what we were looking for during our last recruitment round, we welcomed applications from:
- people who had regularly been involved with YLAL’s work;
- individuals from Black, Brown and Racialised groups;
- individuals with skills in administration, including website management, WordPress and MailChimp;
- individuals with skills in communications and press;
- individuals with skills in campaigning and lobbying; and
- individuals from a range of professional backgrounds, including Chartered Legal Executives (CILEx), solicitor apprentices paralegals and students.
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.