Newcastle-headquartered commercial law firm, Watson Burton, demonstrated its continued commitment to providing a launch pad for legal careers by hosting a Career Insight Day in partnership with the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF).
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. It provides new opportunities, through events such as the career insight day, as well as a strong network of support for 6th form and university students. The day was well attended by students who received an invitation through Watson Burton’s partnership with the Social Mobility Foundation.
Chris Graham, partner and Training Principal at Watson Burton opened the event before attendees heard from two trainees on their experience to date at the firm.
Following a networking lunch, where students were able to talk to Watson Burton employees - from trainees to senior solicitors - an interactive session gave students an in-depth exposure to Watson Burton’s application process. There was also a ‘careers carousel’ where students could ask questions to gain knowledge into the work of a commercial law firm and its different departments, through short one to one sessions.
It’s hoped that students will have learnt life-long business skills in networking and confidence building, and that they will have gained an insight into - and a passion for - a career in law.
This is the first of many activities planned by Watson Burton and the Social Mobility Foundation to support the career aspirations of students in the North East.
Chris Graham, partner at Watson Burton, said: “We are delighted to have given students a taste of what it’s like to work in a law firm, whilst providing them with skills that can be applied throughout their lives.
“Many young people simply don’t have the same opportunities as others may have when starting out in the legal profession, and the work of the Social Mobility Foundation is helping to overcome this.
“It was fantastic to have the opportunity to meet and develop these bright young people and support the work of the Social Mobility Foundation.”
Tahir, a student from South Shields, who attended the event said: "The event was extremely informative. I was able to find out more in-depth information rather than generic things. My favourite part was the talks from the trainees but also the one to one, as I found I could ask anything I wanted.”
Rebecca, a student attendee from Blyth, said: “I enjoyed hearing about the experiences of the trainees. It was very informative and a good way to find out more about a career in law.”
David Johnston OBE, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, commented: “We are delighted that Watson Burton was able to host SMF students aspiring a career in the legal sector for the SMF’s Newcastle Law Career Insight Day 2018.
“Career insight days are part of the SMF’s wider support. They are an invaluable opportunity for our students to gain a first hand-insight into their aspired profession and meet prospective future employers. For many of our students, the Law career insight day at Watson Burton was the first time they spent a day in an office environment and talked to professionals who are working in the career they would like to enter in the future.“
Watson Burton is also mentoring four students as part of the Social Mobility Foundation’s APP City programme. 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.
Watson Burton, which also has offices in Leeds and London, delivers commercial legal services nationwide. Its core practice areas are corporate, employment, real estate, construction and dispute resolution.