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New bespoke programme for 16 to 18 year old students designed to broaden access to the legal profession and advance social mobility and racial and ethnic diversity

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@LinklatersLLP has today (15 Apr) launched Making Links Discovery, in partnership with the Social Mobility Foundation (@SocialMobilityF) and the @AmosBursary, a bespoke programme designed to open up access to a career in the law for 16 to 18 year old students across the UK.

The programme is formed of two separate pillars, one focussed on advancing social mobility and the other on advancing racial and ethnic diversity within in the legal sector.

The 18-month programme is designed for 16 to 18 year old students (Y12–Y13 or equivalent) with an interest in law from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.

The first part of the programme supports cohorts of up to 30 Y12 (or equivalent) students with their longer-term career aspirations and personal development. Key elements include mentoring, work shadowing, introduction to legal concepts and law as a career, personal finance, CV and interview support, and UCAS and personal statement advice. 

Students will then have the opportunity to apply to continue onto the second phase of the programme in Y13 (or equivalent), where successful candidates will have access to individual tutoring to assist with A-Level (or equivalent) studies and the opportunity to be fast tracked onto the firm’s Making Links Scholarship programme.

Making Links Discovery builds upon Linklaters’ longstanding relationship with the Social Mobility Foundation and the Amos Bursary. The Social Mobility Foundation will be leading on the delivery of the programme and identifying candidates from social mobility “cold spots”. The Amos Bursary will put forward candidates who identify as having Black, Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage – some of the most underrepresented minority ethnic groups in the firm and broader profession and further supporting Linklaters’ commitments in its Race Action Plan to increase participation of Black students on key talent programmes and to ensure greater representation of Black and underrepresented minority ethnic lawyers within our firm.

Fionnghuala Griggs, trainee recruitment partner at Linklaters, comments:

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“Early opportunities play a crucial role in opening up access to and achieving true diversity in the legal sector. Making Links Discovery will enable us to develop a distinct pipeline of, and strong engagement with, students from across the UK who want to pursue a career in the law but might not otherwise have had the opportunity or resources to do so.”

Sarah Atkinson, CEO of Social Mobility Foundation, states:

“We are delighted to be expanding our long-standing partnership with Linklaters through the development of this innovative new programme for aspiring lawyers. This programme builds on our previous work together and increases the support we can offer to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, especially those living in social mobility cold spots. The pandemic is set to have a disproportionate impact on the futures of young people from low-income backgrounds, so the pillars of this programme – mentoring, work experience and skills development – are particularly crucial. We appreciate Linklaters’ ongoing commitment to social mobility.”

Colleen Amos OBE, Co-Founder and CEO of The Amos Bursary, noted:

“It is fantastic to be partnering with Linklaters on such a substantial programme looking to bring about change and increase representation of underrepresented minority ethnic lawyers across the legal sector, as we continue to build on our strong relationship. Linklaters’ support has been immeasurable in realising our ambitions.”

Making Links Discovery further expands Linklaters’ Making Links initiatives – focussed on attracting, recruiting and developing talent from underrepresented backgrounds. Linklaters has a longstanding commitment to ensuring that personal background, social identity and socio-economic circumstances are not barriers to success, with social mobility and race both being priorities within the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy.

The firm was recognised as a top 20 employer for advancing social mobility in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2020 – the fourth year in a row in which Linklaters had been named in the rankings.

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