Research in 2009 by the Lawyer magazine showed that lawyers are more likely to come from a privileged background than any other profession. This week a group of topUKlaw firms launched the profession’s first-ever collective undertaking to provide quality work experience for state school students.
Under the Prime scheme, 23 top legal firms including Allen & Overy, Freshfields, Hogal Lovells and Linklaters are to provide work experience that totals at least 30-35 hours, and to commit to maintaining contact after the work experience has ended. Firms must also offer at least 50 percent of their annual training contracts to work experience places each year, as well as provide financial help during the programme. The scheme is by no means operating in isolation and will complement the individual practices’ existing training and support schemes that have laid much the groundwork for Prime. However, given the many years of student loans, law school and apprenticeships needed to become a lawyer, a privileged background will always provide the certainty that 18 year-olds crave when making their career choices.