In order to help young people gain some professional work experience, and to deepen their understanding of a potential career in law, Burges Salmon has stayed committed to its bespoke work experience programme ‘Bright Sparks’ which has been run annually since 2013.
“Bright Sparks definitely sparked my interest in studying law at university. It was a very fulfilling experience which gave me an unprecedented access to the legal profession, I would highly recommend it”. Former Bright Spark and Law Student at the University of Bristol
Who gets a place and what do they do?
Each year the firm provides week-long placements for up to 28 students who are in Year 10 – Year 12 and from schools in the area local to its Bristol office. Recognising that this is an invaluable opportunity Burges Salmon makes sure that it allocates places carefully considering the quality of the student’s application, representation from a selection of schools, a mix of diversity and PRIME representation of at least 50%.
During the week the students follow a challenging programme that includes:
• Shadowing and assisting people in legal and business services departments
• Researching a topic and writing a report
• Preparing a CV and engaging with interview skills
• Working on a group project and presenting to a large audience
• Preparing and giving an individual presentation.
The week includes a guest session where a legal client comes to help run a session. This helps to broaden the students’ insight into the legal profession with a different perspective.
“This was not traditional work experience: this was a comprehensive introduction for students to the realities of working for a law firm. As a client, we were proud to play a collaborative part in such a professional and worthwhile project.” Legal Manager-Regulatory Financial Services Compensation Scheme
Valuing Social Mobility
Burges Salmon firmly believes that opening its doors and raising awareness of career opportunities are key to helping young people to shape their aspirations and to spur motivation. Education and employability are considered critical elements in enabling social mobility as well as diversity and inclusion.
“At Burges Salmon we value diversity and are committed to being an inclusive workplace. We know that a law firm’s success is based on the strength of its people and their ideas. By being inclusive we have access to the best people and the best ideas and that has got to be good all round – for our clients, for our people and for the community”. Liz Dunn, Partner and Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Group
Bright Sparks is part of a wider portfolio of working with schools which enables Burges Salmon to reach a high number of PRIME students through school partnerships, education and employability community partners and the social mobility business partnership. In 2018 Burges Salmon was proud to have worked with over 750 young people in schools through our various educational programmes and initiatives. These are focused towards schools and students which are highly representative of PRIME criteria.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Burges Salmon is showing true leadership in the way it supports the local community and is an inspiration for others to follow”. Managing Director, GENeco
Find out more about Burges Salmon’s next Bright Spark PRIME work placements in July for year 10 to 12 here