Freshfields seeks to improve social mobility and low levels of recruitment into law of young people from deprived backgrounds with its Insights work experience programme.
- 411 were students given work experience placements in 2013.
- 96% of students have a better understanding of careers in law as a result of the programme.
- 90% of students have a better understanding of the skills and qualifications they would need to become a lawyer.
- 95% of volunteers think the programme helps develop skills and competencies.
- 95% of volunteers feel the programme improves job satisfaction and motivation.
- The programme has helped Freshfields to develop stronger relationships with clients.
“ Widening access is a key issue for the legal profession as a whole and at Freshfields we believe that offering work placements is central to addressing this.
Allowing young people to see lawyers in action, understand some of the different career options available and realise that some of us are even human helps to break down barriers and encourage them to aspire to a career in the legal profession. ”
Although there have been great improvements in the profession, there remains a lack of diversity in the background of laywers. There is also a general lack of understanding of careers in law amongst young peopl, with many having preconceived ideas of lawyers and 'self select' themselves out of a career in this area.
Freshfields believes that work experience can help undo this by allowing young people to see what life is really like in a law firm, dispel any misconceptions they may have about the profession and picture themselves in a career in this area.
The Freshfields work experience programme aims to provide young people, from a range of backgrounds, with an insight into life at a law firm. The target group is young people aged 14-21. This is part of the company’s wider efforts to address the issue of social mobility and access to the legal profession.
Freshfields works with local schools in deprived areas and community partners, including SEO scholars and Career Academies UK, to offer work experience to a wide range of students. It also accepts speculative applications. The programme runs all year round and its structure ensures all students receive a great experience to help them make future career choices.
Students follow a timetable of activities that allows them to explore different areas of law and learn about business service functions and varying career routes. Freshfields hopes to break down some of the preconceptions that young people often have about a career in commercial law.
The objective is to increase participants’ understanding of the range of careers available at a law firm, what corporate lawyers do and the skills, experience and qualifications required to pursue a career in a law firm. It also hopes to raise young people’s aspirations.