Training, mentoring and work experience to improve access to the legal profession for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds
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City Solicitors Horizons
WHAT IS CITY SOLICITORS HORIZONS?
City Solicitors Horizons is a pilot social mobility initiative to improve access to the legal profession for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. It has been initiated by the City of London Solicitors’ Company, City Solicitors’ Educational Trust (CSET) and The Legal Education Foundation (TLEF), with the support of the City of London Law Society (CLLS) and leading law firms.
Over the next three years, 50 first year undergraduates annually will be selected from participating universities to take part in a three year programme alongside their undergraduate degrees. Each intake will benefit from comprehensive classroom and one-to-one training sessions, mentoring from lawyers, and work experience from sponsoring firms.
Applications are welcomed from undergraduates in any degree discipline but selected students will need to demonstrate a commitment to pursuing a career in the legal profession.
WHY HAS CITY SOLICITORS HORIZONS BEEN SET UP?
Research has shown that bright and hard-working students from disadvantaged backgrounds still find it difficult to obtain training contracts compared with their contemporaries from more privileged backgrounds.
This problem was highlighted earlier in 2015 by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission in its report into non-educational barriers to the elite professions. It reported that working class applicants struggle to get access to top jobs because elite firms systematically exclude working class applicants by applying a “poshness test” to gain entry. Applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds are seen as being less likely to have the soft skills and experiences required for entry into top firms.
City Solicitors Horizons will address the barriers to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds joining the legal profession by introducing a programme which will run for the duration of undergraduates’ courses and will include comprehensive classroom and one-to-one training sessions, mentoring from experienced lawyers, and work experience.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY?
The scheme is open to students from disadvantaged backgrounds that have a strong potential to succeed academically, and that are committed to a future career in the legal profession. Applicants must be undergraduates in their first year of studying at a participating UK university based in London or the south east of England.
The principal requirements of applicants are that they:
1. Must have been educated at a state funded (non-fee paying) school; and:
a) be of the first generation of their immediate family to attend university; or
b) have been eligible for free school meals or some other form of financial assistance; or
c) have been in care/is a care leaver.
2. Be committed at this stage of their university course to joining the legal profession; and
3. Have, in the judgement of their university, a strong potential to succeed academically.
Anyone who has already gained a training contract or has been selected for Pathways Plus is not eligible to apply.
WHY IS IT ONLY OPEN TO STUDENTS AT UNIVERSITIES IN LONDON AND THE SOUTH EAST OF ENGLAND?
We hope to launch similar schemes in other parts of the UK in due course; for the time being, this scheme's focus on students relatively close to London avoids the need for participants to incur heavy transport and accommodation costs.
IS THE SCHEME OPEN TO STUDENTS STUDYING SUBJECTS OTHER THAN LAW?
The City Solicitors Horizons scheme has now widened it's scope to include applicants studying non-law subjects. Eligible applicants are those studying in their first year of any undergraduate degree at a participating university in London or the south east of England. However, they must be committed to joining the legal profession in the future, in addition to meeting the above criteria.
WHAT WILL I GAIN FROM THE SCHEME?
Successful applicants will receive comprehensive classroom and one-to-one training sessions from industry experts over the course of three years, alongside their undergraduate degree. The training is designed to significantly improve participants’ skills for the legal career paths they may be keen to gain exposure to during their degree.
Undergraduates will also benefit from personal mentoring by lawyers from sponsoring firms throughout the programme. Mentors will offer regular face-to-face or Skype meetings, and support undergraduates at critical times, such as when making applications for vacation schemes and training contracts. In addition, undergraduates will benefit from work experience at sponsoring firms.
FOR HOW LONG DOES THE SCHEME LAST?
The pilot scheme will accept 50 first year undergraduates annually over the next three years. Each intake of undergraduates will benefit from the three year programme alongside their undergraduate course.
HOW DO I APPLY?
The scheme is not currently accepting applications.
The scheme opened for applications for the 2016-intake in March 2016: City Solicitors Horizons (CSH) Application
WHICH LAW FIRMS ARE INVOLVED?
18 City law firms have signed up to the scheme to provide mentoring, work experience and support with training sessions. These are:
Baker & McKenzie
CMS Cameron McKenna
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Herbert Smith Freehills
Holman Fenwick Willan
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
Sullivan & Cromwell
White & Case
WHICH UNIVERSITIES ARE INCLUDED IN THE SCHEME?
The following universities in London and the south east of England have been sent information about how students may apply for City Solicitors Horizons.
Anglia Ruskin University
Birkbeck College, University of London
Buckinghamshire New University
Canterbury Christ Church University
City University London
Goldsmiths, University of London
Imperial College, University of London
King's College, University of London
Kingston University London
London Metropolitan University
London South Bank University
Oxford Brookes University
Queen Mary, University of London
Royal Holloway, University of London
SOAS, University of London
Southampton Solent University
St Mary’s University, Twickenham
UCL, University of London
University of Bedfordshire
University of Brighton
University of Cambridge
University of Chichester
University of East Anglia
University of East London
University of Essex
University of Greenwich
University of Hertfordshire
University of Kent
University of Law, Guildford
University of Oxford
University of Portsmouth
University of Reading
University of Roehampton
University of Southampton
University of Surrey
University of Sussex
University of West London
University of Westminster
University of Winchester
Any universities wishing to receive further information and updates, please contact the City Solicitors’ Education Trust (CSET): email@example.com
I'M A LAW FIRM OR IN-HOUSE LAW DEPARTMENT. HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
If you are a law firm or in-house legal department looking to contribute towards City Solicitors Horizons, please contact the City Solicitors’ Education Trust (CSET): firstname.lastname@example.org