Inspired by our long-term commitment to promoting social mobility through greater diversity in the legal profession, the Pioneer Programme at international law firm Bird & Bird meets the PRIME commitment and is specifically aimed at building relationships with students from underprivileged backgrounds. It is designed to give students from age 14 onwards a greater awareness and understanding of careers available within the legal profession and the wider business world, while helping them to develop key employability skills.
How better to do this than to show students first-hand how law firms interact with clients, particularly when one of those clients is multinational online giant Yahoo!? Having worked with Bird & Bird on another of the firm’s social mobility initiatives, the in-house legal team at Yahoo! are perfect partners for Pioneer, enhancing what a law firm are able to offer by giving our students access to an even greater variety of careers, knowledge and contacts within a dynamic internet corporation.
The programme will be delivered through three half-day workshops in Years 10 and 11 and one week’s work experience in Year 12. During their work experience Yahoo! will host the students for an afternoon, introducing them to the legal team and other business units, including editorial and sales. The students will run a case study on a deal involving different business units and legal issues. They will then be split into teams to complete a challenge with a mentor from the Yahoo! legal team. Yahoo! will continue to be involved beyond this through the Pioneer alumni programme which will provide annual events and ongoing mentoring enabling students to keep in touch with the firm and their peers.
Yahoo!’s Senior Legal Director, Manu Kanwar commented:
“We’ve been fans of the PRIME initiative since we read about it in the legal press and reached out to explore how Yahoo! Legal and the wider in-house community generally could get involved. It’s a great scheme, holding its signatories to very high standards and delivering real value to the students involved. We were very encouraged to know that Bird & Bird, our main UK law firm, had signed up and were keen to explore how we could work with them. Their Pioneer programme is great, going beyond PRIME requirements it provides a rounded and stimulating experience that builds, along with real relationships, over several years. We are really excited to be involved, giving a taste of in-house and business life.”