A raft of in-house legal teams at companies including Google and Lloyds Banking Group have partnered with law firms to support Prime, the profession-wide initiative to improve social mobility.
Students from poorer backgrounds will now have the chance to experience working in an in-house legal department, as well as in private practice. Allen & Overy’s (A&O) diversity contact Jane Masey said that it was also hoped that in-house teams’ involvement would spur more firms to join the initiative. Masey added that she was first contacted by in-house teams when Prime was first launched in 2011. Lloyds Banking Group is understood to have been one of the in-house front runners in getting invovled with Prime.
Law firm, in house partnerships that have already been established include A&O and Lloyds Banking Group, Baker & McKenzie and Google, Bird & Bird and Yahoo!, Brodies and Virgin Money, Herbert Smith and The Financial Times, Hogan Lovells and Vodafone, Olswang and Microsoft and Taylor Wessing and The Press Association.
In-house teams can also sign up directly to Prime, but as it stands none of the company’s working alongside firms for the initiative will be independently evaluated in the annual review, which will be carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research later in the year and will assess individual firms’ work experience programmes and whether Prime is achieving its stated goals.
In August, Prime announced the law firm partners that would make up its inaugural board, chaired by A&O’s senior partner David Morley (13 August 2012).
Prime was launched in September 2011, and now has more than 80 members (12 September 2011)