Aspiring young lawyers will be supported in entering the legal profession this year, thanks to commercial law firm Watson Burton.
Newcastle-headquartered Watson Burton has announced that it is now working with The Social Mobility Foundation to support North East students who wish to develop legal careers.
The Social Mobility Foundation, which has an office in Newcastle, is a charity which aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for young people from low-income backgrounds.
The Social Mobility Foundation provides opportunities and networks of support for 16-17 year olds who are unable to get them from their schools or families. In addition, the organisation continues to support these students during their time at university through to when they enter employment.
Watson Burton will be mentoring four students as part of The Social Mobility Foundation’s APP City programme.
The law firm will also be offering work experience to students through the foundation, which will give them an insight into the work of Watson Burton’s departments and also support them in developing soft skills.
The APP City programme supports high achieving students from low income backgrounds across the UK from lower sixth/S5, into competitive universities, and the top professions. It is operated in Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, as well as Newcastle, and can provide mentoring by professionals, tailored skills sessions and career workshops, university application support and guidance, and work experience with high profile employers.
Chris Graham, partner at Watson Burton, said: “We feel that it’s vital that candidates from as broad a range of backgrounds as possible have the opportunity to join the legal profession and also believe it’s important to widen the pool of candidates from which we recruit.
“Many young people simply don’t have the same support networks as others may have when they’re starting out in the legal profession, and the work of The Social Mobility Foundation is helping to overcome this.
“We’re proud to be playing our part in helping young people from a range of diverse backgrounds to develop their careers and get a foot on the ladder: The Social Mobility Foundation is making a huge difference to many people’s lives and the organisation needs the support of local businesses to help it to achieve its aims.”
David Johnston OBE, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Watson Burton in Newcastle, which will enable us to expand the support we offer to the young people we work with in the North East who are interested in a career in the legal sector.
“Despite being the second best performer on social mobility indicators for children up to secondary school age, the North East is the second worst when it comes to people progressing through education in their teenage years then into work.
“In supporting our work, Watson Burton are demonstrating their commitment to improving social mobility and we welcome their knowledge and skills in preparing Social Mobility Foundation students for a career in the legal profession.”
As part of it work with the Social Mobility Foundation, Watson Burton is hosting a Careers Insight Day with the foundation on May 30 at its offices on 1 St James' Gate, Newcastle upon Tyne. The event will feature a talk by Watson Burton partner Chris Graham and presentations by Watson Burton’s graduate trainees, plus a ‘careers carousel’ with solicitors at the firm, through which attendees can gain an insight into the work of a commercial law firm and its different departments. In addition, the event will guide attendees through Watson Burton’s application process.