Diversity scheme welcomes its 2012 cohort

Almost 50 Black and Minority Ethnic students took their first steps onto the legal career ladder last week by attending the induction ceremony of the Legal Launch Pad (LLP) 2012 hosted at the Law Society London.

More than 400 university students applied for the Black Lawyer’s Directory (BLD) initiative, which is aimed at people who want to break into the legal profession but due to family backgrounds or previous poor careers advice are less informed about the different routes into law.

BLD Interim Chief Executive Tracey Fletcher said: “Our panel of judges had to select from 400 applicants, making this a very difficult process – even more so than previously because of the high caliber of applicants applying.

“We are tracking all students with a view to demonstrating the difference that our work, with sponsors and partners, is making to individuals who would otherwise have experienced difficulties or less opportunity to progress in and through the legal profession.”

The induction day on 26 January gave students an insight into the content of the programme, which will include developmental training; practical experience of working in a legal environment; as well as access to a mentoring relationship.

Each of the 45 students will be offered at least one vacation scheme at one of the participating law firms.

Francis Iyayi, a former LLP student who has since landed a training contract, said:

“For a variety of economic and social reasons, I feel that it is fair to say that access to a career in law is not necessarily narrow, but most definitely narrower for people from diverse backgrounds. 

“Having said this, I feel law firms have been working to change this and make the law a more accessible profession. More can always be done, but with initiatives like the LLP, law firms are taking a big a step in the right direction.”

Through the programme more than 60 per cent of LLP graduates have succeeded in securing jobs with the sponsor firms.

Organisations taking part in the programme include Berwin Leighton Paisner, Clifford Chance, DAC Beachcroft, DLA Piper, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Olswang, Shoosmiths, The College of Law, White & Case and No5 Chambers.