As part of our commitment to UK initiative PRIME, in October 2013 our London office invited 12 students from Islington 6th Form Consortium into our office for a week of work experience. Through participation in our Work Experience Programme, the students were given the opportunity to learn about the range of careers available to them within the legal profession, as well as a chance to develop their skills and abilities.
During the week, volunteers from all areas and levels of our firm participated through delivering interactive, skills-based workshops for the students. In addition to our own people, we were joined by 12 volunteers from RBS Legal, who were able to add a first-hand, alternative perspective for the students, by representing the role of in-house legal counsel and the banking sector.
Students spent the week developing their employability skills such as communication, team work and presentation skills, as well as learning about the art of negotiation and pitching. In addition they were given the opportunity to learn about writing CVs and interview techniques, which they applied during their mock interviews towards the end of the week. Each session gave students the opportunity to engage with different representatives from the world of work, who each had their own career path and experiences to share. As a reporter from Legal Week was also in attendance for some of the sessions, the students also got to learn about the media sector and legal trade magazines.
Students’ feedback revealed that they felt the experience had been beneficial for their development and had increased their understanding of the skills employers are looking for.
100% of the students that participated stated that the work experience programme had:
– helped them to develop their skills and abilities; and
– increased their understanding of the types of jobs that are available in professional organisations.
92% also reported they had a greater understanding of what they would like to do in their future career, with 83% saying the experience had encouraged them to pursue a career in the legal profession.
“The thing that I enjoyed the most was meeting different people that play different roles in the company; I also enjoyed the interview skills programme, as I felt that I learnt a lot.”
Volunteers reported enjoying using their skills and sharing their career experience to help broaden these talented students’ awareness of the opportunities available to them within our profession, raising their aspirations and inspiring some to pursue a career in our sector. 90% of DLA Piper volunteers reported feeling more committed and a greater sense of pride in being a member of the firm as a result of their participation in the programme.
In February 2014 we once again joined forces with RBS Legal’s volunteers on our Work Experience Programme to host local students in our London and Birmingham offices. The students visiting our London office were given the additional opportunity to spend an afternoon at RBS for a RBS-led session dedicated to the banking sector and the roles of their in-house counsel. In July 2014, we will be hosting a group of students participating in RBS’ Legal First Steps Programme for a day, providing the students with insight into the routes in law and the types of roles they could pursue within the legal profession as part of their work experience with RBS.