International law firm Gowling WLG is head of the Birmingham cluster of firms taking part in the Legal Social Mobility Programme (LSMP) for the second year in a row.
Following the success of the programme's debut in Birmingham last year, the LSMP is back, aiming to broaden access to the legal profession and develop students' career aspirations. The programme is a collaboration between law firms and their clients, as well as commercial organisations and professional sports clubs. It allows students from non-privileged backgrounds to gain an understanding of the legal profession and an insight into the world of work through intensive skills training.
Gowling WLG is hosting 29 students this year, all from schools from around the Birmingham area. Other law firms in the Birmingham cluster are Irwin Mitchell, Squire Patton Boggs and DLA Piper - throughout the week, the students will spend a day with each firm's clients respectively; Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, Wasps and the SRA, as well as a day at ITV.
Lorna Gavin, head of diversity, inclusion and corporate responsibility at Gowling WLG, said:
"We are proud to be a part of LSMP for the second year now as the cluster head for Birmingham. We see students' confidence being built up, commercial awareness and professional skills improving and aspiration being raised. It can transform a student into a standout candidate by giving them valuable material to draw from, which employers find unique, interesting and relevant."
Gowling WLG hosted a plenary day at their Two Snowhill offices last week to kick-start this year's programme and allow students to develop their networking and presentation skills,
Bahawal Ali, a student from this year's programme, said: "So far each day has been different and offered something for me to think about. I already feel more confident when networking, not only with fellow students but with professionals in the industry and have developed my knowledge about the variety of sectors you can work in as a lawyer. I'm enjoying these new experiences and making the most of each opportunity. I am sure this will benefit me with regards to my future career ambitions in the law sector."
The LSMP, which initially started in London in 2014, expanded to Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham last year. It has grown again and now also includes Brighton, Bristol and Reading meaning over 300 students and 70 organisations will be involved this year.