Law firm boosting students’ employability skills

hlw Keeble Hawson is giving law students at Sheffield Hallam University a unique insight into the legal profession to gain hands on experience.

A champion of putting something back into its local communities, the firm’s wills and probate department together with the law school at Sheffield Hallam University have launched a new initiative – helping the city’s elderly residents write their wills.

The placement is part of the Private Enterprise Scheme – a programme run by both organisations which is designed to give first and second year students practical work experience in a professional legal environment.

This latest initiative, involves one second year student working with hlw Keeble Hawson’s clients each month.

hlw Keeble Hawson partner Michele Todd, who helped to set up this latest addition to the programme, said it demonstrates students’ commitment to the profession – and enables the law firm to develop potential employees. 

She explained that having forged a long standing relationship with Sheffield Hallam, the company is very keen to be involved in helping boost students’ chances in the job market and would consider employing those who had participated in the scheme.

She added:

“The programme’s impact on the local community is likewise significant and hlw Keeble Hawson’s clients find it rewarding that we are helping the next generation of lawyers.”

Sheffield Hallam University law lecturer Vinny Jethwa said:

“Our first and second year law students enjoy gaining work experience at hlw Keeble Hawson. By participating in the scheme, they help the local community and gain a sense of social responsibility.”

Seventeen students are currently taking part in the scheme which involves witnessing wills, working with Age UK and participating in Free Wills Month – a scheme which gives people over the age of 55 the chance to have their wills written or updated free of charge by participating solicitors.

Due to the success of the Private Enterprise Scheme, the University’s Law School has been nominated for “Best New Pro Bono Activity” award in the LawWorks & Attorney General Student Awards 2014.

Students seeking to qualify for the Private Client Enterprise programme have to take part in a rigorous recruitment process organised by the University.

hlw Keeble Hawson’s extensive pro-bono activities also include holding a weekly legal advice surgery at Western Park Hospital, organising a bi-annual charity seminar and participating in the Free Wills Month campaign.

Alex Guy and Tasha Wright

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