National law firm Irwin Mitchell opened the doors to its Sheffield headquarters last month to five aspiring students from Thomas Rotherham College so they could gain valuable work experience as part of the social mobility programme, PRIME.
This year, the firm hosted five students, aged between 16 and 18, from the college in Rotherham between 25 July and August 5 and one student, Damon Gomersall, from Mirfield Free Grammar School near Wakefield.
The Rotherham students, Georgia Gould, Victoria Peters, Paige Yellott, Charlotte Broadhurst and Jake Vickers, worked to a specially designed timetable so they could experience as many aspects of law and the day-to-day running of the firm, as possible.
The PRIME initiative is an alliance of law firms who have pledged to broaden access to the profession by providing quality work experience that’s accessible to all.
Irwin Mitchell have been part of the initiative for three years , offering talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to spend time with their teams to gain vital work experience to enable them to pursue a career in the law.
This year the students, most of who are studying for their A-levels worked in different departments each day including medical negligence, serious injury, workplace injury, commercial litigation, insolvency, real estate, contentious probate, the legal helpline and IT.
The students engaged in a number of activities and were able to try their hands at various tasks.
At the end of the week, the ambitious students delivered presentations on their week at IM.
Their feedback was extremely positive and they said they gained a lot from their time at Irwin Mitchell.
The Irwin Mitchell team responsible for the PRIME project in Sheffield are solicitors Charlotte Civico, Marcelo Masri, Sinead Hayes, Katrina Edwards and legal executive Katie Winslow.
Charlotte Civico said the scheme was important to ensure that young people from all walks of life were given opportunities to get a taste of life in the legal sector.
She said: “In the past it was very much a case of ‘who you know’ in terms of getting good quality work experience in the legal sector which is why Irwin Mitchell takes pride in being part of the PRIME initiative.
“No matter what background a person comes from, all students should be entitled to get experience of their chosen career.
“It means that in the future the mix of legal professionals will become more inclusive and diverse, which ultimately means that clients will have a greater choice of lawyers to meet their needs and fight on their behalf.
“We’re really grateful to the students for coming to our offices and getting stuck in and we wish them all the very best of luck for the future.”
Charlotte Broadhurst, 17, who is studying Law, IT and Art, said: “I want to train to become a lawyer in the future so having this experience was a fantastic chance to see what it is like working at one of the country’s top law firms.
“It’s opened my eyes to the different paths there are to get into a career in law, such as the legal apprenticeships Irwin Mitchell have started offering. My time there helped develop my legal knowledge and analytical skills, and all of the staff were so friendly and helpful that I really felt like part of the team by the end of the week.”