As a trainee there are lots of opportunities to give back to the community. I have been involved in the PRIME Summer Residential placement this year as a mentor. Prime enables students aged 16-18 who live outside of London to gain access to work experience opportunities which are based in London. This year, Herbert Smith Freehills held its third residential programme.
“The role of the mentor helps to accentuate these skills by giving students feedback and advice on their communication skills and the building of their commercial awareness.”
During the time that the students spend at the firm, they are able to develop their understanding of the legal sector by work-shadowing members of the firm and visiting in-house counsel. The students also have the opportunity to develop their softer skills by completing presentations and networking. The role of the mentor helps to accentuate these skills by giving students feedback and advice on their communication skills and the building of their commercial awareness. The mentor is also a trusted point of contact to discuss the student's career development, such as helping them to choose where to go to university.
To ensure that students have access to the right opportunities it is important that they are able to make informed decisions regarding A-Level choices and which university to attend. Often, the Prime students may not be able to seek this advice at home as their parents may not be familiar with the UK Higher Education system. Therefore, having a trusted contact who they can go to for information is incredibly important. Additionally, providing access to opportunities which help students experience what life is like working as a professional in a corporate environment is important in enabling students to gain an understanding of both law and commerce.
Being involved in PRIME is particularly important to me; having come from an underrepresented background I appreciate the importance of having a mentor in the legal sector. The opportunity to help students who are clearly very bright and motivated, but who otherwise may not have access to the same opportunities as students from London, or students whose parents are lawyers, is incredibly rewarding. It is also a means of helping to ensure that students reach their full potential in their academic studies.