Focus: Diversity, Power to the pupils

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  • "Couple this with the fact that ­getting a training contract depends on good A-level grades, an excellent degree and a CV bulging with pro bono work and vacation scheme placements"
    That myth should be put to rest. One of my colleagues got very poor A Levels, a 2.1 in the degree and commendation on the LPC. He never once did any pro bono work and actively disliked the idea. His only legal experience was working in a conveyancing factory for two years.
    That didn't stop him securing a training contract with one of the top City firms.

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  • "Law firms are missing a trick by focusing their diversity schemes mainly on university students rather than A-level pupils."

    I don't understand the whole premise of this article. Last I checked, a law degree (and thus, a university degree) was required to be a solicitor, let alone a barrister... I would not trust someone to be my lawyer without a proper law degree...

    And then, I don't understand why you continue keeping this old myth alive according to which students need to have lots of pro bono work and vacation scheme placements to get a job at a major law firm. This is utter nonsense, many of my colleagues did not have such things on their CV and yet here they are, working in major international law firms! This is even more true in a number of US law firms in London where the partners tend to discourage pro bono work, even though their PR brochures state otherwise.

    Finally, at a digital age where all kids spend hours each day on the Internet (twitter, facebook, ...) and know all about search engines, do we really need to take those kids by the hand when they already have access to all that info? Those kids have access to more information than anyone in previous generations! Are we really helping them by spoon-feeding them ? Should lawyers take the next step and go to kindergarden to tell those kids about the law too? Should airline pilots also come to school to tell kids about airline pilot jobs? Should movie directors come to school as well? And the list could go on and on.

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  • Silver Circle Partner comments come at no surprise at all. My advice to SCP is spend half an hour educating yourself on Diversity in Law, just maybe you'll see (or possibly not) exactly how this article is a good thing.
    Look up a chap called Roderick Palmore (Executive VP at General Mills). Take note of the efforts people in big places are making to ensure a more diverse workforce in the area of law (not aviation nor entertainment).
    Then take a little time to think about how the actions described in this article have helped A-level students to make a decision on their chosen degree. Most of these students wouldn't have even considered a law degree due to the fact that their backgrounds conditioned them to see the law as an upper class option. Some sadly just don't feel worthy enough. There lies the problem. More students from diverse backgrounds who are academically sound just may now choose to study law at university with the knowledge that excellent grades matter (something their parents may not have conditioned into them - as far as they are aware completing the degree is enough).
    The talent pool is then a more diverse one to choose from and "Silver Circle" firms like yours may begin to start hitting diversity targets which are likely to have been set by the hand that feeds you... see the likes of Tyco/Eversheds.
    Hopefully attitudes such as the one you display will disappear and real progress will happen.

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