We had the great privilege of demonstrating our “Expert Hand, Human Touch” in the Glasgow office this Easter by accommodating eleven high school pupils from seven different schools across the Glasgow area. We wanted the experience to be fulfilling, we wanted it to be enjoyable and we wanted to shed the legal system in a positive light to encourage these pupils to ultimately pursue a career in law.
The programme at Irwin Mitchell (IM) was greatly received by acquiring a huge influx of applications from pupils across Glasgow. We had a timetable of thirty hours needing filled which was a huge task in itself. We received great support from staff across all departments. Everyone in the office had knowledge and skills to offer these pupils from claims handlers, trace investigators, Solicitors and Partners who all participated in the programme to make it such a roaring success.
We hosted sessions and legal tasks from an array of specialisms such as crime and evidence, repossessions and personal injury.
The experience was very engaging and captivating. It got us into a heated discussion about morals and how everyone interprets the law. The exercises were really interesting and helped build confidence. Mohamed, St Rochs’ Secondary School
The programme was very hands on to help develop the students’ commercial awareness, presentation skills and networking. These sessions were informative as well as engaging and interactive. We wanted to give these pupils a greater understanding of how the law intercepts with every aspect of our daily lives. We discussed contracts, domestic abuse, road traffic accidents, euthanasia and human rights. The students participated in liability discussions, criminal profiling and on-floor shadowing of colleagues at work.
The programme was extensive and the pupils realised the toils of working 9am-5pm. The pupils were given a devoted insight into what the role of a Solicitor would entail from being instructed by the client, drafting court proceedings, reviewing defences and bringing their mock claim to a Hearing. The pupils were taught how to decipher evidence, how to cross examine witnesses and court etiquette.
It has given me a chance to use my voice and have my opinion heard, and I appreciate this greatly. Alexandra, Whitehill Secondary School
Furthermore, pupils had the opportunity to “apply” to university by taking part in a CV and personal statements workshop. Not only did we give these pupils a flavour for what a legal career would entail but we assisted them in achieving these aspirations by mentoring them on how to apply for university, the different routes you can take and interview practice. Pupil, Martin Ryan of St Andrews RC Secondary School expressed that “not only will I recommend this work experience programme to a friend but I will recommend IM as a place to work as I would look at IM as a future employer for myself. I would love to be a part of this team as it has ultimately given me more of a passion for the profession.”
The pupils summarised the work experience as “fun, valuable, educational, inspiring, motivational, expansive, and extraordinary.” Extraordinary people are just ordinary people willing to make a difference. This has certainly been achieved, and we are so proud not only of our pupil participants but to all the members of staff who volunteered to facilitate tasks and lessons for these pupils to assist the future generation in their career aspirations.
This programme was no tick box exercise but a genuine attempt at increasing social mobility within the legal profession. Our pupil Salma Khan Afridi of Notre Dame High School explained that “the most enjoyable aspect of being mentored by Catriona Smith was that she was approachable and understanding and someone genuinely interested in helping you choose/pursue a career in law.” We have a passion for law, we have a passion for education and we have a passion for the future of our profession.
Catriona Smith, Paralegal Irwin Mitchell Glasgow Office