The Freshfields work experience programme aims to provide young people from a range of backgrounds with insight into life at a law firm. Last year, Freshfields provided over 130 placements to young people with 96% of students feeling the experience had given them a positive impression of the legal profession.
- In a staff survey, Freshfield’s volunteers reported feeling that engagement in the programme had helped them to develop a number of skills: 92% had become more aware of wider social issues; 70% had improved their influencing/negotiation skills.
- In a staff survey, Freshfields volunteers reported that participation in the programme had a positive effect on their feelings about the firm: 76% had improved job satisfaction; 72% felt more motivated.
- In a survey, 98% of work experience students reported feeling that they had a better understanding of the different careers in a law firm.
- In the same survey, 92% of students reported feeling that they had a better understanding of the qualifications and skills needed to get into a career in law.
Freshfields believe everyone should have equal access and opportunity to contribute to society and fulfil their potential, regardless of background or circumstance. The business success of the firm also relies on being able to recruit from the widest possible pool of the best and brightest talent, and encouraging future generations to consider a career in law helps Freshfields to do this.
Freshfields run a year round work experience programme, with students drawn from partner schools and colleges and through speculative applications to the firm. They also work with other community partners to provide annual group work placements and internships, such as Career Academies UK.
The objective of the work experience programme is to increase participants’ understanding of:
the range of careers available at a law firm;
what corporate lawyers do;
the skills, experience and qualifications required to pursue a career in a law firm.
Freshfields HR team is responsible for ensuring the correct processes are followed and that all students receive the same experience as any new starter at the firm. Freshfields have a number of committed volunteers across the business involved in the management and day to day running of the placements. Over 200 volunteers were involved in the programme in 2011/12, giving more than 1,700 hours of their time.