Law firms give young people a glimpse of legal life by staging information days

April 11, 2014

Three Bristol law firms have staged work experience and information days for school students to give young people a better understanding of legal careers and widen their intake.

TLT and Clarke Willmott teamed up with UWE on a two-day pilot work experience scheme for 19 first-year A-level students while Burges Salmon welcomed 43 GCSE and 36 A-level students to two lawiInformation days.

Over the two days of the TLT/Clarke Willmott event, the students learnt about the variety of qualifications, roles and responsibilities that make up a law firm. They had access to employees across the firms, from partners to trainee solicitors, and support staff, including HR and IT.

The aim was to introduce them to a professional services environment and to broaden their understanding of how a law firm operates.

As part of their work experience, the students learnt key workplace skills including interview techniques, which they then practised first-hand when meeting employees from across the firms. They also had the opportunity to learn other soft skills including presentation techniques, effective communication and creative thinking.

TLT senior partner Robert Bourns said: “TLT recognises its responsibility to introduce young people to the realities of a career in the law and the different routes that they can take. We are a diverse society and look to create an innovative working environment reflecting the broader community and providing opportunity to people from a wide range of backgrounds.” 

ABLAZE, the Bristol Learning Action Zone, a charity supported by TLT, is providing business mentors to the students taking part, motivating them to follow through on their commitments.

Robert Bourns added: “We are delighted that Clarke Willmott joined in with this and hope other firms can be recruited to work with UWE and ABLAZE to sustain an initiative that can make a long term impact to encourage social mobility."

TLT also runs a Leap into Law scheme, targeting those who do not wish or are unable to go to university and want to learn on the job, sourcing talent from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Burges Salmon has been organising its Law Information Days for the past eight years with the aim of creating awareness of the opportunities for a career in the legal profession and assisting students with making important decisions about university courses and future careers.  

As in previous years, the days included talks from partners and trainee solicitors in the firm, a careers adviser from UWE and a barrister from St John’s Chambers as well as a negotiation skills exercise. 

The format included interactive group discussions, which proved to be very useful as the students enjoyed meeting other students from different schools. Each group was allocated a trainee solicitor for the day, which the students found of value as they could ask them questions directly and learn from their experiences first hand. The days concluded with a careers’ advice clinic run by Burges Salmon’s HR team where students were able to obtain information on CVs, applications and alternative ways into law.

Burges Salmon corporate responsibility manager Catherine Correia said: “We were very pleased to, once again, open the doors of our office to all these students and hope they enjoyed their day. Considering students came during their Easter break, attendance was excellent and it shows how committed and serious they are.

“The group discussions worked particularly well as the positive energy they created was maintained throughout the day. We will definitely be repeating those next year and welcome students from all schools in Bristol and the South West.”

Pictured: TLT senior partner Robert Bourns with the work experience students

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