Award-winning legal skills programme comes to Birmingham

Logos-2The Legal Social Mobility Partnership (LSMP) is a collaborative programme dedicated to broadening access to the legal profession for young people from non-privileged backgrounds.

Gowling WLG (formerly Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co) is collaborating with other law firms in the city, along with their partner clients, professional sports teams and commercial partners, to introduce the programme to Birmingham following two successful years in London.

As part of LSMP, a group of secondary state school students from the city have completed a week’s intensive skills training at one of the following law firms; Gowling WLG, DLA Piper, Irwin Mitchell and Squire Patton Boggs.

Next week the students will come together to spend a week gaining intensive skills training, coupled with work insights into in-house law and the wider commercial environment with ITV, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Aston Martin Lagonda.

During that week, one day will also be spent with the community team of Wasps and Harlequins rugby teams at the RICOH arena, to learn the key to resilience and achieving goals.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority, based in Birmingham, is also collaborating, hosting a plenary session to bring all the students together for the first time to prepare them for the week ahead and provide an insight to their role in 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 to the legal profession should be meritocratic and without social barriers.

“Now in its third year, the LSMP encourages students to build their confidence, both through demystifying the world of business and by giving them a wealth of ammunition to populate their CVs and tackle interviews with self-assurance.”

This year, the LSMP won the Legal Business CSR Project of the Year. The scheme quintupled in scale in 2015, with 106 students participating – compared to 20 in 2014, and extended its reach from London to include students from Greater Manchester.

The partnership makes its debut in Birmingham and Leeds in 2016, as well as doubling student numbers in Manchester and adding a further London cluster to the scheme; this has meant the scheme has doubled in size in terms of student numbers year on year.

Each student who takes part in the initiative meets the criteria set out by PRIME. PRIME is an alliance of law firms and legal departments across the UK who has made a commitment to broaden access to the legal profession for students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in law.

Laura Charles, Principal associate and Corporate Responsibility Manager, who coordinates the scheme for Birmingham on behalf Gowling WLG, said: “Diversity is at the core of the Gowling WLG ethos.

“We are thrilled to be able to be part of the LSMP programme – it forms part of our ongoing commitment to a more diverse legal sector and will provide key support and guidance to a group of young people.

“We have received tremendous support from those already involved in LSMP; it’s a model that we hope continues to be replicated in other locations.”

Following the two week work experience, the students are then part of an ongoing support network, including the LSMP Alumni offering, which provides students with access to virtual coaching through a Linkedin Group and hands-on support at university through a unique tie up with Aspiring Solicitors.

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