The City of Westminster & Holborn Law Society is to introduce work experience placements for students who have never completed a vacation scheme.
It wants to help law students who haven’t been alert to the opportunities the legal profession provides or who have simply had difficulty obtaining a place on a vacation scheme.
Former CMS Cameron McKenna training partner and Legal Practice Course tutor Melissa Hardee, president of the society and chairman of its education and training committee, believes that, through no fault of their own, students can miss out on opportunities and that the profession could suffer as a result.
She said: “I don’t think students are remiss. The reality is that getting onto a vacation scheme is very difficult…. Undergraduates are growing up; it’s quite natural that at that age and stage you’re focused on having a good time. I wouldn’t criticise them for it.
“It can be because students are from non-traditional backgrounds and it’s not surprising that they have no family connection with the profession. Also, a lot of students coming in are really quite young; some think ‘I’m bright, I’ve got this and that. I’ll do law’, without really having a focus at the end of it.”
The society introduced student membership at its October AGM this year and is working with providers to attract students to its ranks.
Hardee added: “For the profession generally it’s important that we have new blood coming through, given current times with tuition fees and questionable opportunities for employment and alternative and competing career paths. I think if the profession wants to have good people coming through in future it needs to engage with them.”
The society is currently working to implement its proposals, which were initially put to around 500 firms in the Westminster and Holborn area, and make sure that any work experience opportunities do not interfere with students’ studies.