Gowling WLG and Cummins join forces to launch internship programme

International law firm Gowling WLG and Cummins, a global power technology leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services engines, power generation systems and related technologies, have joined forces to launch an internship for aspiring lawyers from Black heritage backgrounds. 

The Cummins X Gowling WLG Internship provides under-represented aspiring lawyers with the opportunity to gain experience with both organisations, and has already resulted in two candidates applying for and securing places on a vacation scheme at Gowling WLG, with one successfully securing a training contract.

More than 100 applications were received for the second year of the intake. The popularity has led to both organisations hosting a joint open day for the top 15 candidates to learn about the intricacies of the client-partner relationship, to receive tailored career advice from senior lawyers, including Gowling WLG's Cummins lead partners Chris Towle and Catherine Naylor, and to build their professional networks.

Sophia Cox, from the Early Talent Team at Gowling WLG, said: "We are thrilled to be working together with our client Cummins to launch the internship programme to offer aspiring lawyers fantastic opportunities to gain invaluable experience at a busy international law firm, along with a thriving in-house legal team.

"We are delighted with the success of the inaugural scheme, and for it to result in two aspiring lawyers going on to gain places on vacation schemes, and for one to secure a training contract with the firm. Lawyers from Black heritage backgrounds are under-represented in corporate law firms and Gowling WLG is passionate about ensuring we are a workplace that provides opportunities for everyone. So we are excited to now be into the second year of the internship – the uptake in applications has been incredible."

Paul Fertleman, Assistant General Counsel at Cummins said: "We are grateful for the outstanding partnership we've had with Gowling WLG throughout this journey as their support and collaboration have been instrumental in the success of our programme.

"At Cummins, we are passionate about DE&I and it is inspiring to see the positive impact our programme has had on the career journeys of the students who have participated. Due to the remarkable success we've achieved, our aspiration is to expand our programme to include even more students, opening up new pathways to success in the legal field.

"I would like to extend my thanks to Anisah Shah, whose leadership has been a driving force behind this initiative. We are excited about the progress we've made, but we know there is much more work to be done. We look forward to continuing our mission of creating a more diverse and inclusive legal profession."

Aspiring lawyers who enrolled on the internship include:

Vanessa Joshua: "The internship was incredibly insightful and provided me with such a breadth of opportunities to see how my skills and interests fit into the legal world. Everyone I met through my experience was so willing to provide support, enabling me to get the most out of the experience and solidifying my belief that I could thrive in the legal field. I enjoyed my time so much that since then, I applied for a vacation scheme with Gowling WLG where I also secured a training contract!"

Blessing Ebonguko: "I really enjoyed my time at Cummins and the opportunity to discover a new sector which I had not heard much about. Working in-house gave me the opportunity to really engage on a closer level to client work and explore specialising within specific sectors in a legal career."

Rea Duxbury: "I cannot recommend the Gowling WLG X Cummins internship scheme highly enough. The internship provided a unique insight into what it is like to be a lawyer working in both private practice and in-house, as well as how businesses and law firms work together. In the two weeks, I learned a huge amount. I attribute this to the breadth of experience during this time, which included rotating departments at Gowling WLG and joining a trip to Huddersfield whilst at Cummins. Taking part in the internship confirmed my decision to make the leap and career change to law. I will commence the PGDL in January 2024 and I am currently applying for vacation schemes."

Ismael Ali: "The internship helped me gather insight into the work of a commercial solicitor in an international law firm and the work done by in-house lawyers at a global company. Getting stuck into tasks and receiving feedback from lawyers has helped me cement my intentions of career switching from healthcare to law, and the team at Cummins and Gowling WLG have done the utmost to help me with my journey. I'm currently applying for training contracts, and the invaluable experience I've gained from this internship has helped me immensely."

The joint-internship follows Gowling WLG (UK) Charitable Trust and the University of Birmingham partnering to launch a Black Talent in Law Bursary scheme. The scheme was launched in 2021 and involves Gowling WLG (UK) Charitable Trust - a registered charity funded entirely by donations from partners of Gowling WLG - support the studies and future careers of black students at Birmingham Law School (BLS). The second cohort of the scheme is currently in the process of being recruited.

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