As part of the pilot run of Brodies PRIME initiative I accompanied three students on a visit to Virgin Money’s HQ in Edinburgh. This was intended as a way of showing the students what alternative careers are available in law outside of private practice.
All the students were very taken with the idea of in-house practice, not just given the availability of free croissants and easy access to i-Pads, but with being part of an exciting brand and a vibrant, commercial environment. The students were given a presentation by one of Virgin Money’s lawyers about the wide-ranging role as in-house counsel advising on many issues including IP (a wide remit given the Virgin brand). As you might expect, at the beginning, the students were a bit reticent with questions, but once they had been put at ease by the in-house team, taken to the games room and shown round the office including having the opportunity to sit in the chairs in the board room (“like being in the Apprentice”) they grew in confidence. The visit gave us a greater insight into the students’ perception of what they were looking to achieve by pursuing careers in law. It is perhaps unsurprising that, alongside working in a dynamic business, fancy chairs and top of the range IT equipment were high on their list of priorities.
I think both this visit and the involvement of an in-house client in the programme were very valuable. It gave the PRIME students an opportunity to observe a very different legal environment and by the end of the afternoon, it certainly appeared that at least one of the three students was now seriously considering a career in law. I believe that, having seen what opportunities might lay in wait at the end of her studies, she became more focused and committed to pursuing that career.
This is certainly something that I would encourage others to get involved in as it certainly appeared to be one of the highlights of the PRIME students’ week.
Iain Rutherford, Associate, Brodies
Stephen Pearson, General Counsel at Virgin Money added:
“At Virgin Money we think it’s important to use our facilities and people skills for the benefit of our local community. It was a delight to help this group of young people gain a unique insight into the way our business works and I hope they have taken away the belief that they truly can access a career as an in-house lawyer.”