LSMP going from strength to strength in fourth year

Scheme expands to Bristol, Brighton and Reading. Increased focus on alumni support and dedicated website for easier access to resources.

Leading commercial companies and their legal advisers today announce the fourth year of a work insight and skills programme delivered by the Legal Social Mobility Partnership (LSMP), which has not only expanded in size to reach 300 students across seven towns and cities, but also has an increased focus on supporting alumni.

With work insight weeks taking place nationally between 28 July and 4 August, LSMP’s main aim is to broaden access to the legal profession and develop students’ career aspirations. The programme is a collaboration between law firms and their clients as well as commercial organisations and professional sports clubs. It allows students from non-privileged backgrounds to gain an understanding of the legal profession in the context of business through intensive skills training and business games.  This is strengthened by ongoing support from virtual coaches who are on hand to provide assistance with CVs, filling in application forms and interview preparation.

The scheme this year has introduced a dedicated website to provide current students of the programme and alumni greater support through a sign-up for alumni events and a ‘Find a Virtual Coach’ function.  The website also includes a members’ area for participating organisations to access all the information and forms they would need to run the programme. 

The LSMP, which initially started in London in 2014, expanded to Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham in 2016.  It has grown again and now also includes Brighton, Bristol and Reading, as well as increasing student numbers in London, meaning 70 organisations will be involved this year.

Barry Matthews, Director of Legal Affairs & Third Party Sales at ITV, a founding LSMP company, said: “I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved without paid staff or a formal budget, growing from providing 20 places in London in 2014 to 300 across seven towns and cities in 2017. We are all great believers in collaboration and the promotion of fairness in society. The LSMP is evidence of the power of partnerships.”

Sarah Macdonald, Chief Counsel at BT said: “It is important to BT that we play our part in creating a level playing field in the legal profession. Programmes like the LSMP give those students, who would not otherwise have access to work experience or contacts in the profession, a chance to develop their skills, broaden their horizons and build up a network of students in similar circumstances. We are proud to be supporting this excellent programme for a third year running, helping to give more students an ‘edge’ in their university applications and greater confidence to pursue the careers they seek.”

A 2016 alumni student from The Ravensbourne School, Bromley said: “It was very enjoyable, interactive and informative at the same time. It has opened my eyes to many different pathways in law and I would recommend it to anyone who is pursuing a career in law.”

A 2016 alumni student from the Priory School, Dorking said: “I found the experience extremely beneficial in terms of showing me the different aspects of the legal world and how people have come about being in their positions.  Overall a great opportunity.”

Karen Chamberlain, Deputy Head at Lilian Baylis Technology School, London, said: “We have been taking part in the LSMP for several years and our students have really benefitted from their experiences. It has helped raise the ambitions of our aspiring lawyers and help them better prepare for their future legal careers, including helping them decide what career path they want to pursue and which courses are best to gain entry to this career. Those who have taken part in previous years have successfully gained places on law degree courses at Russell Group universities. Without opportunities such as, this they would have little or no exposure to this profession.”

Graham Goldup, Senior Assistant Headteacher at Newman College, Hove, said: “We welcome partnership opportunities such as those that the LSMP offers as they provide students with the aspiration, experience and challenge to pursue a chosen career and develop confidence, self-belief and inspiration to achieve. Feedback from students always shows that they rise to the challenge in rigorous, well-planned opportunities and professional working environments such as this”

Nick Ward, Director – North London, Teach First said: “In the UK, young people from low-income backgrounds are half as likely to take part in work experience compared to those from wealthier backgrounds.  Over the last two years we have been fortunate to work with Ashurst and ITV to offer work experience to over 50 pupils from some of the poorest boroughs in London.  This has helped raise the aspirations of our pupils whilst equipping them with the knowledge and skills required to secure a place on their chosen path post school.”