300 state school students gain access to top firms

Over 300 students will benefit from meeting partners, trainees and graduate recruitment at top firms at an event aimed at former state school pupils later this month.

Organised by Pure Potential, the event will provide students with advice on application processes and interview techniques. Now in its fifth year, the event is run in conjunction with Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, Berwin Leighton Paisner, CMS Cameron McKenna, Herbert Smith Freehills, Linklaters, Norton Rose, Slaughter and May and SNR Denton.

Organiser Binda Bhudia said: “It started as a pilot and was held for a very small number of students. It has grown in strength each year in terms of numbers, firms and what we offer to students.”

The event will take place on 26 March at the College of Law’s Moorgate centre and feature talks on the roots into the legal sector, explanations of the legal practice course and graduate diploma in law and practical advice on how to answer competency questions, how to approach advocacy and interview techniques.

A panel of students with training contracts, recent trainees and graduate recruitment managers at law firms will be on hand to answer student questions on how to obtain a legal career.

Students will then visit a firm’s office to have lunch with partners, trainees and the recruitment team. Afterwards, they attend career workshops run by the firm.

Bhudia said: “Students can ask questions at any point, it’s a very open and relaxed environment. They then go to firms’ office – there are very limited opportunities for students to see the inside of a firm’s office in their first or second year.”

Panellist Luke Murphy, a trainee at Clarke Willmott, who has spoken at the event in the past, says: “The scale of it’s really good and it’s quite interactive; students get very involved and ask lots of questions.”

Students are selected on the basis of attending a state school and achieving ABB at A level, in line with firm requirements five years ago, and an essay outlining why they are credible candidates.

Bhudia states that the grade requirements have not moved from five years ago as the event must strike a balance between selecting quality candidates and opening up the profession. She said: “The calibre of students is still very impressive at those grades – raising the boundaries further would restrict access.”

Last week nearly two hundred London state school sixth form students attended Lawyer2B’s two-day careers event in the City of London, meeting law firms Baker & McKenzie, Bircham Dyson Bell, Forsters, Freshfields, Linklaters and Slaughter and May, pupil barristers from Old Square Chambers and 5 Paper Buildings and BPP Law School academic staff (6 March 2013).