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Working together to make a difference: PRIME Conference 2018

By 16 February 2018December 15th, 2022No Comments

I’ve been a Trustee of PRIME for two years now. I don’t have a legal background – in my day job I run Causeway Education, a charity helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through key educational transitions – and it’s great to see the commitment from PRIME members to improving social mobility in the legal profession.

Last week was the first PRIME conference since I became a Trustee and it marked the culmination of a great deal of work by the PRIME board on behalf of our members, not least the website redesign – making it a much more attractive source of information for young people struggling to find out how to get into the legal profession. We’ve also made a contextual recruitment system available to all members to help make it easier for you to deliver your PRIME commitment, and we’ve broadened the board to make sure we’re less London-centric, with new Trustees including Bill Drummond from Brodies and Ty Jones from DWF.

We dived into the conference with Lord Holmes of Richmond, who gave an extremely funny keynote speech, talking about his Paralympic gold medals for swimming (where his technique for winning seemed to be based entirely on muttering “I don’t think so, matey” to his competitors) and the hazards of being mistaken for David Blunkett by London taxi riders based entirely on their having similar-looking guide dogs.

The panel discussion was by turns thought-provoking, informative, and heart-rending, with some useful tips about what and what not to do in attracting young people into the profession. It was great to hear from Megan Stewart about her experience as a PRIME student – and even better to hear that she’s been awarded a training contract when she graduates from the University of Nottingham later this year.

The presentation by Kath Davies of the Social Mobility Foundation and Malcolm Gomersall of Grant Thornton on the findings from the first year of the Social Mobility Employer Index was fascinating.

Finally, the conference ended with arguably the most important session – the round-table discussions. Members had some great discussions on everything from better use of data to how to make sure we’re getting to the most deserving young people, and we’ll be discussing all of them at the next board meeting on February 24th, with information following shortly afterwards about how we plan to implement them – watch this space! As a membership organisation PRIME stands and falls by the involvement of our membership and we on the board can only make the improvements we do with your input and ideas – so please do keep them coming. And encourage your fellow firms to join too – together we’re much greater than the sum of our parts.

It was a good day, and great to meet all the PRIME members who came. Let us know if you have any comments, questions, tips. Next time we plan to run the conference outside London so do let us know if you’d like to host – although bear in mind you’ll have to beat the wall of doughnuts provided at this one (here shown before the ravening hordes had attacked it). My only regret is that I didn’t lead a conference singalong of “All You Need Is PRIME” – maybe next time…

PRIME Board member, Julie Randles of Causeway Education