Burges Salmon helps Bristol school students with access to the legal profession

February 27, 2019

More than 120 students from a range of Bristol schools attended national law firm Burges Salmon’s annual information days for young people interested in pursuing a legal career.

The two days gave the GCSE and A-level students an overview of the legal profession, the career options available as well as different routes into law, including choosing an apprenticeship. 

Both days included interactive group discussions, giving an opportunity for the students to mix and make connections with other students from different schools.

Each group was supported by a trainee solicitor, enabling the students to ask questions directly and learn first-hand from their experiences.

The GCSE day included a session run by His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood QC of Bristol Family Court. He challenged the students to think and share their views on UK citizens’ voting age, Brexit and discrimination in its many guises.

For many students this was the highlight of the day, with their comments including:

  • “Law is all about finding solutions and bringing justice.”
  • “Judges are really cool.”
  • “Today gave me a bigger insight into what I want to do when I am older and this will help me choose my A-levels.”

The A-level day included a presentation on student finance from University of Bristol widening participating and undergraduate recruitment officer Laura Anders, in which she dispelled some of the myths surrounding tuition fees and told students about the various bursaries available.

Many students found this very helpful, with one saying

  • “Student loans are less stressful than I had imaged.”

Another highlight of the A-level day identified from the student feedback was a negotiation skills exercise.

Each day concluded with a careers advice clinic run by Burges Salmon’s people team during which students were able to obtain information on the recruitment process, assessment centres and apprenticeships.

Most students rated the day ‘highly’ or ‘very highly’, noting they found it useful, informative, helpful and interesting. When asked about the impact it had on their career choices, students said:

  • “It has increased my knowledge on how to pursue law as a career.”
  • “I have learnt that if I do law, there are many possible areas that I can choose from, which has very interesting and helpful.”
  • “Everyone at Burges Salmon was very welcoming and informative. I will definitely be in contact about apprenticeships. There are also a wider range of opportunities.”

Burges Salmon, which believes it has a commitment to make the legal professional accessible to talent from diverse and different background, holds the Law Information Days as part of its ‘Working with Schools’ programme. It also runs a work experience programme called ‘Bright Sparks’.

Its Law Information Days are promoted to both state and independent schools from all areas of Bristol and are in line with the legal sector PRIME commitment to help encourage wider access to the legal profession.

Participating students complete equal opportunity questionnaires so that Burges Salmon can monitor their performance in terms of appealing to male and female students, those on free school meals and first generation to aspire to go to university.

The firm’s head of corporate responsibility Kirsty Green-Mann said: “I was delighted to see the level of interest and engagement from the students. It was an opportunity to learn more on a personal level too.

“The students have to be commended for taking the time out of their half-term holiday and approaching the day with maturity and interest.”

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