Two new programmes will be launched at the end of January with the intention of encouraging undergraduates and 13 to 17-year-olds from black and ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds to apply to law firms.
DLA Piper global chief people officer Robert Halton said: "There are quite a few people out there who don't consider a legal career, but should do. Either they have misconceptions about the legal profession or, worse, no conceptions about the legal profession at all."
Although a high number of law students and graduates come from BME backgrounds, they are less likely to find training contracts, pupillages and tenancies than non-BME students.
Both schemes attempt to remedy this imbalance by raising the aspirations of BME applicants. The schemes will assist up to 50 students a year throughout the UK with mentoring, workshops and work placements.
The programmes come under the Black Lawyers Directory's (BLD) 'Legal Gateway' umbrella programme.
The BLD has also published a directory of BME lawyers in prominent positions in the legal profession, which is intended to encourage BME applicants to join the legal profession, to establish a network of BME lawyers and, according to its website to "provide employers with a dynamic tool to support their diversity recruitment strategies".