Every year we collaborate with a corporate client so that our PRIME cohort has the opportunity to spend a day with members of an in-house legal team. The collaboration is based on our shared objective of inspiring young people and providing opportunities to those most in need.
These collaborations complement their week by providing an opportunity to speak to solicitors who work for client companies and those in private practice. Students can hear from and question speakers covering a variety of legal roles familiarising them with the different career paths open to them. The interactions during the visit with professionals in the legal sector also offer the chance for students to develop their networking skills.
As one of the founding members of PRIME, we recognise that there are barriers preventing students from lower-income backgrounds pursuing a career in law.
When we launched our PRIME work experience programmes our objective was simple – to provide young people, not just those with privileged backgrounds, with access to quality work experience and to boost their career opportunities.
Every July, our London hosts 27 PRIME students as part of our annual work experience programme and since 2011 over 100 students have participated in our programme.
We have developed partnerships with Mossbourne Community Academy, City & Islington College, Newham Collegiate Sixth Form, The Sutton Trust and the Social Mobility Foundation to provide sixth form students the opportunity to apply to our work experience programme.
Through a combination of work shadowing and mentoring alongside interactive training workshops we offer students access to legal professionals and a week within a corporate environment that might otherwise be unattainable. Our programme which adheres to the principles of PRIME is a valuable intervention helping students to begin developing their professional network and gain an insight in to the pathway towards a career in legal service. Students have access to a mentor who they will work shadow in addition to participating in a mix of skills development workshops, case studies and networking activities. The aim is to help students gain a better understanding of how law firms work alongside personal development training. Our workshop content includes:
• CV Surgery & Transferable Skills
• Personal Branding & Networking
• Team Working & Problem Solving
• Legal Case Studies & Negotiation
• Graduate Recruitment & Pathways in to Law
• Business Style Presentation
• Confidence & Resilience
Because it is important to us to build long-term relationships with the students, we launched an alumni programme so that students receive relevant news updates on opportunities at the firm and, in turn, keep us updated on what they are doing. We also provide access to other resources and networks on campus through our relationship with careers services. When visiting universities attended by our alumni, our graduate recruitment team ensure that they connect with them. Of our 100 alumni, two of them were offered training contracts at the firm.
Don’t just take our word for it; here is what one of this year’s PRIME participants had to say:
“Thank you for this great opportunity. It was a wonderful experience and made me even more certain that I would like to pursue a career in Law. I was able to spend valuable time shadowing an associate – listening and talking about goals and plans for the future. It was incredibly rewarding and it made me realise that I have a lot more to offer and can provide a different perspective.”