Centre for Access to Justice


Public Interest Careers Mentorship Scheme

Applications for the Public Interest Mentoring Scheme are now closed.

What are Public Interest Careers? 

'Public interest' is a broad term which encompasses any work which focuses on improving the lives of others and making positive contributions to the society. Public interest does not just include work with people but also the environment.

Public interest work can range from service roles working directly with people to improve their lives, to campaigning on behalf of communities, as well as social policy roles working for systemic change through legislation. 

While many public interest careers typically sit within the not-for-profit/third sectors and the public sector, public interest careers can also be found in the private sector, including the many law firms providing legal aid and affordable legal advice to individuals in areas such as housing, family, employment, and welfare benefits. 

Further reading on Public Interest Careers: 

The UCL Centre for Access to Justice Guide to Public Interest Law

 'What is Public Interest Law' from Harvard Law School. 

Purpose of the Scheme:

This mentorship scheme aims to provide guidance and support to students interested in pursuing a career in social justice and public interest by connecting them to alumni and professionals currently working across the third and public sectors in related fields. Through this scheme, students will have the opportunity to explore volunteering, internship and graduate job opportunities in the public and third sector while also receiving more in-depth information and guidance through applications.

The aim of the scheme is that by using their skills, academic, and professional experience, mentors can support students’ development, encouraging productive conversations around academic, professional, and career/life goals.

The Mentorship programme does not replace other UCL student services (UCL Laws Careers (Stephen Gurman); UCL Careers; Student Support & Wellbeing; your academic mentor/personal tutor; your Programme Director; your transition mentor; the Law Society etc.).  

Scheme Outcomes: 

A successful relationship can: 

  • Support and challenge the mentee’s professional and personal development goals; 
  • Provide practical advice, encouragement and support; 
  • Develop the mentee’s communication, presentation, study and personal skills; 
  • Help mentees learn about how to overcome academic and personal setbacks and gain valuable insight into the next stage of your university/professional career; 
  • Help prepare mentees for the graduate recruitment process; 
  • Improve interview skills;  
  • Develop crucial interpersonal skills; 
  • Provide practical advice and relevant experience and skills appropriate for a demanding and competitive marketplace; 
  • Improve mentees employability. 

Mentee Requirements: 

Mentees must undertake a short induction on Wednesday 6 December (1-2pm in Bentham House) and attend the Mentorship Scheme Launch event on 23 January 2024 (6-8pm in Bentham House) 

Mentees must commit to meeting with their mentee twice at least twice and are expected to take the lead in arranging meetings. The meetings will take place via phone, Zoom, MS Teams, etc unless both mentor and mentee are comfortable meeting in person. 

In taking part in this programme, it is understood that students will agree to the Scheme's Code of Conduct


These scheme is open to all LLB and LLM students, however in the event the scheme is significantly oversubscribed, we will be prioritising final year LLB students and LLM students. 

Students are expected to show a demonstrable commitment to pursuing a career in the public interest. 

How to Apply: 

Applications for this opportunity will open in the 2024-25 academic year.

Please note, while we will endeavour to match students to their first choices, it is subject to the availability and capacity of current mentors. 


Code of Conduct:

  • Once paired with your mentor you understand that you will be expected to make first contact with your mentor.  
  • You understand that you will be expected to have clear objectives that your mentor can help you achieve. 
  • You understand that you will reply to ‘checking-in’ emails sent to you. 
  • You understand you are expected to have clear objectives that your mentor can help you achieve.
  • You understand it is vital to the relationship that information about your mentor divulged to you over the course of your relationship will be kept absolutely confidential.
  • You agree to the expectation and frequency of meeting with a mentor at least 1-2 times a term, unless your mentor specifies otherwise.
  • You agree to submit feedback at the end of the programme
  • You agree to treat your mentor with respect regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, etc.