Pinsents plays host to Birmingham Uni and UCL freshers

Pinsent Masons has opened its doors to freshers as part of a pilot work experience scheme for students at the University of Birmingham and University College of London (UCL).

The pilot will be reviewed at the end of the firm’s current graduate recruitment campaign, which is due to end after completion of the second running of the programme in June 2011.

Graduate recruitment manager Edward Walker said: “We understand there is a need to provide opportunities to people in their first year, and if we decide not to stick to our pilot we would look to introduce an alternative. We would rather offer someone something formal instead of people only having access to opportunities through contacts.”

“This is the second year we have run the programme, and this year we have the benefit of seeing people come back from last year on our vac scheme [for penultimate and final year students]. This is probably, as much as anything, the proof of the pudding,” he added.

The one-week work experience allows first year university law students to shadow a trainee solicitor and experience time in two practice areas. Students will also receive structured feedback and complete assessed exercises.

The top 20 law firm is also providing a workshop on making applications. The scheme requires candidates to complete an application form and achieve a minimum of 2:1 grades in their first year essays.

Walker explained that despite its successes, the problem with the scheme is the level of work required which would hinder its ability to extend it to more universities.

He added: “We have offered the pilot to Birmingham University because we wanted to showcase a successful career in a regional office, and UCL, to raise our profile in London and in response to student feedback.”

The news arrives following Hogan Lovells announcing its intention to launch a paid vacation scheme for freshers next year, which will take the format of an extended version of its open days (read story).