Led by ITV, the Legal Social Mobility Partnership (LSMP) brings together more than 30 organisations to offer a two week work insight programme that strives to break down social and psychological barriers to entering the legal profession and tackle the problem of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds counting themselves out of a career in law. The programme, that runs during the school summer holiday includes a week with a law firm and a second week with four in-house legal teams including ITV, adidas, Barclays and Manchester United, plus a day with Harlequins, Wigan Warriors or Leeds Rhinos. It also includes a unique legacy element providing alumni with support beyond the two-weeks. Alumni can access virtual coaching on a range of matters like creating their personal statements and CVs, completing application forms and preparing for interviews. Through the recent tie-up with Aspiring Solicitors, alumni who go on to study law will also get peer buddy support at university and beyond.
This year, 106 students from across London and Manchester took part in the scheme with numbers set to rise in 2016 through the addition of new clusters in Leeds and Birmingham and increased places in London and Manchester. Delegates are drawn from schools selected by the partners working closely with organisations including PRIME, Social Mobility Foundation, Manchester Access Programme and Pathways to Law.
All of us involved in the scheme feel strongly that entry into the legal sector should be a meritocratic process without social barriers. Our scheme encourages students to build their confidence through demystifying our organisations with multiple work insights and providing them with intensive skills training; this in turn gives them a wealth of ammunition to populate their CVs and answers to questions posed at interview. We have designed the LSMP to be an easily implementable model, which we hope will encourage others to replicate it. The fact that our own scheme has quintupled the number of students involved in just one year demonstrates just how achievable this is.Barry Matthews, Director of Legal Affairs & Third Party Sales