City and national firms and in-house legal departments have signed up to connect with prospective solicitors via Aspiring Solicitors, an online platform dedicated to improving the diversity of the legal profession.
Attwells, Clyde & Co, Dentons, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright and Wragge & Co have all signed up to the scheme, as have the in-house legal department of Barclays, trainee placement service Accutrainee and legal publisher Lexis Nexis.
All organisations have pledged to provide more assistance to would-be solicitors, with each independently deciding their own programme of support.
Aspiring Solicitors was founded by former Norton Rose Fulbright corporate associate Chris White and takes five ’headlights’ as its overarching aims: academics, employability, pro bono, sector awarenesss and equality, diversity and social responsibility.
So far, 43 universities have signed up to the scheme while another 25 are reported to be considering adopting it.
Aspiring Solicitors offers a CV feedback system and access to 25 professional ambassadors.
White told Lawyer 2B last year: “As a first generation law student and having come from a ‘normal’ family – my father was a bricklayer and my mother works in Marks and Spencer – I discovered how difficult it was for me to get experience in the legal profession, let alone access it.
“I had no family contacts or friends in law and had to find my way on my own steam. All I had control over was my academic grades and my own motivation and determination to succeed.”