Legal Social Mobility Partnership quadruples in size for second year

Number of students increases to 106, across 33 leading law firms and commercial organisations, and the programme extends to Manchester for the first time.

A number of leading commercial brands and their legal advisers today announce the launch of a second year of an extensive programme which enables students from less privileged backgrounds to spend two weeks at some of the UK’s top law firms and in-house legal departments with the aim of tackling the all too common problem of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds feeling that a career in the law is simply beyond reach.

The organisations are working closely together to provide motivated students aged between 15 and 18 from over 30 schools across London and Manchester the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of city law firms and their high profile clients.

Led by ITV, the Legal Social Mobility Partnership (LSMP) is backed by the following 32 organisations: Microsoft, Olswang, Slaughter and May, adidas, Harlequins, Manchester United Foundation, Squire Patton Boggs, English RFU, Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club, The Blair Partnership (JK Rowling’s Agent), Viacom, FremantleMedia, Co-operative bank, BT, Yahoo, Barclays Bank PLC, Nomura, Land Securities, Arnold & Porter, Addleshaw Goddard, Eversheds, DLA Piper, Reed Smith, Bird & Bird, Charles Russell Speechlys, Berwin Leighton Paisner, White & Case, Buzzacott, The Myers and Briggs Foundation, Kemp Little, Powa Technologies, LexisNexis and Trailblazer Legal Apprenticeships Employers Group.

Following the considerable success of the inaugural Work Insight and Skills Programme (the programme) in 2014, the LSMP has now grown extensively in scale for its second year, with places for 106 students, compared to 20 last year and extending reach to the Greater Manchester area. Participating organisations have risen in number more than twofold, from 14 to 33. The benefit of having more companies involved is the ability to increase scale and provide the students with insights into more sectors, but the structure of the programme remains the same.

The programme runs for two weeks over the school summer holidays. The students will spend the first week with their partner law firm in which they will participate in a variety of skills based workshops and receive numerous workplace insights. In week two, they will come together to spend a day with high profile clients of the partner law firms, gaining further skills training and insights into the workings of leading in-house legal teams. In addition, they will attend resilience and motivational workshops hosted by the Harlequins in London and Wigan Warriors and Harlequins in Manchester.

The students will take part in workshops to develop their employability skills, which will encompass written and oral communication skills, interviewing, influencing, networking, resilience, negotiation and self-awareness. It is intended that attending the programme will arm the students with experience that can be included in their CVs and directly drawn upon during their future university and job interviews. The LSMP builds on the success of PRIME, an alliance of law firms and legal departments across the UK who have made a commitment to broaden access to the legal profession.

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

"All of us involved in the scheme feel strongly that entry in to the legal sector should be a meritocratic process without social barriers. Our scheme encourages students to build their confidence through demystifying our organisations with multiple work insights and providing them with intensive skills training; this in turn gives them a wealth of ammunition to populate their CVs and answers to questions posed at interview.

We have designed the LSMP to be an easily implementable model, which we hope will encourage others to replicate it.The fact that our own scheme has quadrupled the number of students involved in just one year demonstrates just how achievable this is."

Angelica, who participated in the LSMP last year, said:

"I used the experience in my personal statement and it has helped me get all my offers at university. I’m working really hard now to get the grades, and I know the course has made such a difference to believe in myself, be more ambitious and have so much more confidence."

Other participating students said:

Hashim said:

"My highlights would definitely have to be the time I spent at the different clients as each one was different and great in their own way. I also enjoyed meeting many of the different lawyers and intend to keep in contact with some of them."

Siobhan said:

"I’ve approached my final year at college in a totally different way; I feel more driven and motivated to succeed."

Shannon said:

"I’m thinking differently about myself and I hope that if I become successful I can help create something similar for other young people so they can be inspired."

John Dowd, Headmaster, Haverstock School said:

"This newly enlarged partnership is a wonderful opportunity for our students to get some early exposure to the corporate world within a legal setting. Clearly, many students assume that the legal profession is inaccessible to them but the LSMP is an important step in breaking down any real or imagined glass ceiling."