How Clyde & Co is building diversity with work experience
Clyde & Co wanted to offer genuine career development opportunities to a diverse population, allowing individuals who may not typically apply to a law firm, or gain commercial experience, to learn more about the legal profession and the business world.
The programme, which won an ISE Award for best work experience, aimed to help raise students’ aspirations, improve their employability skills and widen access to the legal profession.
Bright Futures Programme
The programme, which recruited according to certain criteria, was expanded from one week to nine months, recognising the importance of providing ongoing coaching, mentoring and structured development opportunities for this demographic.
Following the week’s work experience, the students could draw on a dedicated trainee buddy, associate supervisor and mentor across the following months. Post-completion, three re-engagement events built on key commercial knowledge and skills training, and helped participants prepare for their application and assessment centres.
In the inaugural 2019/20 programme, Clyde & Co received over 150 applications from across 47 universities, for only 10 places.
The majority (80%) of these applications were state school educated, 67% were first generation university attendees and of these applicants, 60% had a social mobility flag identified via the RARE contextualised recruitment system.
The 2020/21 programme received over 300 applications. By partnering with Aspiring Solicitors, Clyde & Co has been able to take its coaching and mentoring to the next level.
The programme brought significant benefits by generating a diverse talent pipeline for the firm and aligning with the firm’s broader Global Corporate Responsibility and Inclusion strategy. Attracting talent from a broader demographic is key to the future of the business and changing its approach to attraction is instrumental in supporting this.
The scheme also enabled people to participate in volunteering opportunities that not only allowed them to make a difference, but also develop their own skills.
Crucially, it offered an opportunity for key stakeholders to directly engage with participants from more diverse backgrounds, helping them to better understand some of the issues students from lower socially economic backgrounds may face and how to better support them and create an inclusive workforce internally.
The students who participated in the 2019/20 programme provided overwhelmingly positive feedback. An anonymous survey (with a 100% response rate) found that all would strongly recommend the scheme to future participants, with 96% rating the quality of the work as very good or excellent and 92% rating the quality of supervision as very good or excellent.
This is an excerpt from the ISE Complete Guide to Student Recruitment and Development