A law firm has attracted over 7,000 teenagers to the first day of a virtual careers event, in partnership with a young entrepreneur who set up a recruitment business while studying for his A-levels.
Browne Jacobson said half of the total of 10,000 teenagers who signed up for the two-day event, which ended yesterday, came from BAME backgrounds.
The event, aimed at 16-19 year-olds, was part of the firm’s Fairer Access into Real Experience (FAIRE) initiative and free to students across the UK.
It aimed to provide “a snapshot into the working environment of a national law firm”, explore the career options available and give a “candid insight” into the legal profession.
The law firm said it was the brainchild of Dan Miller, aged 20, who set up a recruitment business called Young Professionals when he was 17.
Young Professionals is centred on an app, which provides a “simple platform” for teenagers looking for an apprenticeship or work experience scheme.
Mr Miller said the event was “one of, if not the biggest ever virtual event to take place in the UK for students looking to get into law” and would be “invaluable to many budding professionals looking to get on in the professional services industry”.
The event included contributions from criminal law QC, author and broadcaster Chris Daw; Ranae Oliver, legal counsel at the Financial Ombudsman Service; and I Stephanie Boyce, president of the Law Society.
There were also workshops and Q&A sessions involving partners, solicitors and trainees from Browne Jacobson.
Subjects ranged from a day in the life of a newly qualified lawyer, the difference between barristers and solicitors, advice from trainees “to their younger selves” and “tips on building a personal brand” from the law firm’s external training partners.
Browne Jacobson said the event attracted a high proportion of teenagers from lower socio-economic postcodes, having “pro-actively targeted schools in every social mobility cold spot”.
Mark Blois, partner and head of Browne Jacobson’s education practice, commented: “As a law firm working with more than 1,300 education provider clients nationally every year, we absolutely see the benefit in a joint event such as this.
“People from lower socio-economic and minority backgrounds are still hugely underrepresented in the legal profession, so events like this will be integral in changing the way law firms recruit future talent and ensuring law firms foster a culture of inclusivity.”
The law firm said the FAIRE initiative was devised by its recruitment manager Tom Lyas to offer school students a “different route and easier access to breaking into the legal industry”.
After the event, the teenagers receive an e-certificate to add to their CV and are able to access future skills sessions.
Mr Lyas added: “This event this is the first of a series of events that builds on our ambitions of breaking down barriers to accessing careers in professional services.
“It is unique in its offer of free access for all, with no specific academic grades needed and no lengthy selective application process.”