In-house and private practice social mobility initiative expands nationwide

A social mobility initiative coordinated by major in-house legal teams and law firms has tripled in size and expanded beyond London.

The Legal Social Mobility Partnership (LSMP) is led by ITV, which has partnered with 32 organisations, which will contribute to enabling 106 less privileged students across London and Manchester to spend a fortnight at law firms and in-house legal departments. The partnership launched last year with just 20 students and 14 organisations.

The students are between 15 and 18 and come from 30 schools across London and Manchester. They will participate in workshops on employability, interviewing, influencing, networking, negotiation and self-awareness and be coached on resilience by sports psychologists at rugby clubs Harlequins and Wigan Warriors.

ITV legal affairs and third party sales director Barry Matthews said: “The students start their work experience at law firms and then deliver advice to clients as they would in the real world. They are treated in the same way as a panel adviser would be and get one-to-one feedback on body language, their advice and the way they give that advice.”

To ensure the programme has a legacy, LSMP will track students’ progress via a LinkedIn group and extend an open offer of help with CVs, personal statements and job and training contract applications. In addition, legal resource LexisNexis will run beacon events twice a year on employability and studying and research skills.

Matthews added that he was keen for other organisations to copy LSMP’s example. He explained: “We want other firms to be able to replicate this and will help them do so. We have a great model and great experience so why not use it?”

The LSMP hopes to expand into Birmingham and Manchester next year.