Ladder to Law was launched by Hogan Lovells in 2010 with the aim of establishing a programme that would reach out to schools outside the traditional City catchment areas, enabling students in the Greater London area to get a feel for what a career in law would involve. All the participating schools have a high percentage of pupils who are eligible for free school meals and Ladder to Law is completely inclusive and open to students of different social, economic and ethnic backgrounds, with many participants being the first in their family to consider going to university. With ten schools now actively taking part in the programme and participants enjoying events organised for students in Years 10, 11 and 12 it seemed a good opportunity to partner with one of our clients to broaden the scope of the programme. When Vodafone approached us to see if they could set up a sister scheme we were clearly delighted to work with them to make the scheme as enjoyable, interesting and varied as possible for participants. For the past two years, Hogan Lovells and Vodafone have partnered on a week long work experience scheme with students taking part on the Hogan Lovells scheme spending time at Vodafone, and the students on the Vodafone scheme visiting Hogan Lovells. Participants enjoy developmental workshops at Hogan Lovells on effective presentation and networking skills, job applications and preparing for university interviews, as well as work-shadowing lawyers at both Vodafone and Hogan Lovells to get a feel for what life as a lawyer is like from the perspective of in-house counsel and in a law firm servicing clients. There were also talks and case-studies on different aspects of legal practice so participants could see what a varied career law offers.
A student from Ashcroft Academy attended a Ladder to law event in 2013 when she was in year 12. She says: “It was good to see what being an in-house lawyer and a solicitor in a City law firm involved and the different backgrounds of the Hogan Lovells and Vodafone representatives we met. It was also useful seeing that there are different pathways into Law. Meeting new people from schools across London was scary but refreshing. We were able to share our experiences and put together a great presentation that we had never made before. I liked working in a team where I didn’t know anyone and had to build upon my relationship building and communication skills.”
Rosemary Martin at Vodafone says: “We strive to operate as a truly admired legal function at Vodafone, which is why we are delighted to collaborate with Hogan Lovells to deliver the Ladder to Law programme. The programme has been designed so that the students can experience life both in private practice and in house. We host some of our own work experience placements as well as an interactive workshop at our offices for all of the students. We enjoy giving them a taster of some of the cutting edge legal work that we are involved with and playing a part in promoting access to the legal profession while doing so.”