Herbies launches diversity scheme in response to Milburn report

Herbert Smith has set up a brand new initiative to help Sixth Formers in some of London’s most deprived boroughs to break into the legal profession.

The City firm’s ’Networked’ programme, which is being run in partnership with The Brokerage Citylink, will support five Year 12 students from five different London schools over a five-year period. Potential scholars will be selected to apply to participate in the programme in November and will be invited to a careers day in early 2011.

Herbert Smith managing partner David Willis said: “Networked is about identifying young people at A Level who are capable of having a successful career in an organisation such as Herbert Smith and supporting them through their studies and the early stages of their working life. It’s not about creating future lawyers, although we’d be delighted if some of our scholars chose that path.”

Social mobility tsar Alan Milburn published a report in July 2009 in which he singled out the legal profession as being a closed shop to those from poorer backgrounds.

As part of the programme the students will have access to a mentor, a three-week internship at Herbert Smith and an annual bursary for the duration of their degree. The scholars will also receive support in areas such as interview techniques and soft skills training.

The five schools participating in the programme are Thomas Tallis (Greenwich), Highbury Grove School (Islington), Greig City Academy (Haringey), City of London Academy (Southwark) and Dunraven School (Lambeth).