For the first time, in 2023, UNSW Law & Justice is partnering with six firms – Allens Linklaters, Baker McKenzie, Bird & Bird, Herbert Smith Freehills, KPMG and Minter Ellison - to create greater opportunities for law students under its pioneering Textbook Access Scheme.

Recognising the cost associated with textbooks and the negative impact this may have on a student’s ability to undertake a law degree, the Textbook Access Scheme was created in 2019 by Associate Professor Melanie Schwartz. It followed the success of the Faculty’s Paul Rodwell Scheme, supported by the UNSW Library, which for nearly 20 years has provided free textbooks to Indigenous law students every term.

Originally available to students in the Bachelor of Laws and Juris Doctor programs, this scheme was extended to Bachelor of Criminology & Criminal Justice students when that program joined the Faculty in 2021. This initiative was particularly valued by students during the 2020 and 2021 COVID-19 lockdowns, with an unprecedented spend ahead of Term 3 2021, when Sydney remained in an extended lockdown.

Eligibility for the scheme is based on the student’s residence in a low socio-economic status area of Sydney or New South Wales, or their entry to their program under UNSW’s Gateway scheme. With UNSW working to increase access to students from low-SES, rural, regional and remote areas to 25% of its incoming cohort over the next five years, the Textbook Access Scheme provides an important mechanism for student support. ‘The Faculty is proud of our work to date and thrilled at how our scheme works hand in hand with the university’s important initiative,’ says Associate Professor Catherine Bond, the Faculty’s Associate Dean (Academic). ‘More than 250 LLB, JD and BCCJ students are eligible to access the scheme in Term 1 2023 – our biggest number of students to date.’

Under the Textbook Access Scheme, students are able to access up to $500 (full-time student) or $250 (part-time student) credit for the UNSW Bookshop, to allay some of the costs of their textbooks. But with additional financial sponsorship and support from a range of top tier firms, law students will now be able to access a range of bespoke opportunities to provide a taste of legal practice.

Created in partnership with the UNSW Law & Justice Careers Service, students can apply for and undertake a 20-day paid internship at one of the sponsorship firms – Allens Linklaters, Baker McKenzie, Bird & Bird, Herbert Smith Freehills, KPMG and Minter Ellison – with additional mentoring and in-house opportunities available to students participating in the Scheme. ‘Working with these firms on this Scheme is a continuation of the very fruitful relationships that we have had with each of these organisations to date,’ explains Associate Professor Bond. ‘We’re grateful to the firms for their sponsorship and their commitment to supporting students so as to produce a more diverse legal profession. We know that our students will benefit greatly from the involvement of the firms in this program – gaining the chance to contribute and learn as part of their internships.’

For further information on the Textbook Access Scheme please visit the website here or contact