Launch of the Legal Social Mobility Partnership in association with PRIME

Leading media and technology firms including ITV, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), Yahoo and Microsoft today announced a brand new partnership with leading city law firms Slaughter and May, Olswang, Arnold & Porter and Bird & Bird, to enable students from less privileged backgrounds to gain access to work experience at some of London’s top law firms and in-house legal teams.

The partnership represents an important amplification to the existing work placement initiatives of the partners that are backed by PRIME, an alliance of law firms and legal departments across the UK who have made a commitment to broaden access to the legal profession by offering work experience to young people from less privileged backgrounds who might not otherwise pursue careers in the legal world.

The Legal Social Mobility Partnership (LSMP) is made up of over 10 organisations working together to provide 20 motivated students aged between 16 and 18 from four schools across London the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the world of city law firms and their high profile clients. The programme runs for two weeks over the school holidays. The students will spend the first week in one of the city law firms and in the second week, spend a day at each of the media and technology firms, as well as attending team building motivational experience with Harlequin Football Club. The students will take part in workshops to develop their work-related skills such as networking, resilience and self awareness, as well as sessions to understand how the law plays its part in the media and technology sectors.

Driven by ITV and Slaughter and May, the LSMP has built on the success of PRIME, working with the participating firms to bring together their individual work experience programmes. Thus, the number of students able to attend a scheme of this type has increased as well as the variety of working environments they will experience.

The list of companies and law firms participating in the scheme are ITV, Harlequins Rugby, Microsoft, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) and Yahoo and their partner law firms Arnold & Porter, Bird & Bird, Olswang and Slaughter and May, with support from LexisNexis, Kemp Little, POWA Technologies and Buzzacott. The participating schools are Central Foundation Boys’ School in Islington, Central Foundation Girls’ School in Tower Hamlets and Haverstock School and Westminster Kingsway College in Camden.

Barry Matthews, Director of Legal Affairs & Third Party Sales, ITV said:

"Our aim in setting up the Legal Social Mobility Partnership is to break down barriers both social and psychological. The scheme seeks to help students who do not have existing touch points with the legal world feel that they could have a place in a city law firm or a blue chip in-house legal team. This will hopefully go some way to tackling the all too common problem of such young people counting themselves out of a career in law before even trying.

Students will be encouraged to build their skills in interviewing, influencing, resilience, negotiation and technology awareness as well as gaining CV and interview ammunition - arming them with an experience that they can use as a talking point for university and job interviews.

We have designed the LSMP to be an easily implemented model with the hope of inspiring and encouraging other in-house teams to replicate it with their panel firms."

John Dowd, Headmaster, Haverstock School said:

"This partnership is a brilliant opportunity for our students to experience a variety of corporate settings, from law firms to technology and media companies. They get to meet people, see places and experience organisational cultures that will fundamentally change the way they perceive their options after school.  Suddenly their view of the future is a different one. The limits have been lifted and they are not just inspired but empowered to reach new ambitions."

Vivian, a participating student, Westminster Kingsway College, said:

"Before this scheme, I didn't realise there were so many different areas of law that you could specialise in. I was interested in becoming a lawyer but I've only really known about family law. I've really enjoyed the sessions on the programme and have fell in love with IP law! It has helped me to understand the career path I should follow."