The Royal Mail is launching a number of opportunities for junior lawyers, putting access to the profession and diversity at the heart of its plans.
The organisation will relaunch its training contract and run a work experience programme from this summer, selecting eight candidates to each spend one week at the group’s headquarters over an eight-week period.
“We are offering these placements to our frontline staff and their families,” Royal Mail corporate and finance legal director Caspar Branson told Lawyer 2B. “We also received over 100 applications for our summer placement from attending the London Law Fair this year. But we are aiming for people with diverse backgrounds – the application form is not about their CV but about what it would mean for them and what their circumstances are.”
The successful work experience candidates will gain a variety of in-house experience and witness what life is like as an in-house lawyer. In addition, Royal Mail is in discussion with its panel firms, of which there are 15, to see whether it is able to place candidates with firms for one day of five.
Royal Mail training contracts ceased to exist around 2000 due to a decrease in the size of its legal department.
The training contract relaunch is “not linked to business need,” explained Branson. “We were very conscious of the fact that we did not have a training scheme and that we were not helping open up the profession.”
“We are not trying to compete with the big boys, and we are not aiming for Oxbridge students who will go on to the biggest firms,” he added. “We want to give someone an opportunity; we want to give a credible candidate that first important step in their legal career.
“We have 120,000 postmen and women and we are looking for training contract applications from them, or from their family members.”
The successful trainee will be required to have completed the Legal Practice Course and may be seconded to a panel firm. Royal Mail is intending to employ one trainee initially and will review its policy around numbers over the course of the two-year training contract.