An appeal by The College of Law in Bloomsbury asking London lawyers to volunteer as mentors to the next generation of legal professionals has resulted in record numbers coming forward.
This year 160 qualified lawyers are taking part in the annual scheme, compared with 119 last year. For the first time ever the participants include a number of barristers, who will mentor students training for a career at the Bar.
Students at The College of Law in Bloomsbury get to know their mentors
Students got the chance to meet their mentors for the first time at the recent launch event at the College’s Bloomsbury centre in London. The mentors also took part in a training session designed to help them find the best ways of providing guidance to the students.
Joseph Wilkes, careers consultant at the College and organiser of the scheme, said: “We are delighted by the number of volunteers who have come forward. An appeal through the College’s alumni network alone resulted in more than 50 responses.
The scheme is invaluable as it matches students with limited access to the legal profession with mentors from the practice areas that they are interested in. It offers insight into the realities of a career in law, as well as giving advice on networking, writing job applications and interview techniques.”
The mentors work for a variety of law firms across the capital, including Charles Russell, Linklaters, Fisher Meredith, Denton Wilde Sapte, Farrer & Co and Capsticks.
Other firms represented include the in-house law department of Tesco, Holman Fenwick Willan, DLA Piper, Campbell Hooper, Rooks Rider Solicitors, CMS Cameron McKenna, Hextalls and Nabarro.
Lisa Pepper, of law firm Osbornes based in Camden, has volunteered as a mentor for several years and was a speaker at the launch event.
Left to right: Anna Perry, current LPC student with her mentor Lisa Pepper of law firm Osbornes and Richard de-Friend, Director of The College of Law London Bloomsbury
She said: “As a firm Osbornes has a dedicated approach to training and a strong commitment to producing the next generation of lawyers. Osbornes values its links to the College of Law and last year's mentor scheme resulted in a student being awarded a training contract with the firm.
Her mentee from last year, Anna Perry, also spoke at the event, describing how the scheme had helped her to progress in her career. Anna completed a Graduate Diploma in Law at the College last year. She is currently undertaking a Legal Practice Course and has recently won a training contract with Osbornes.
She said: “The mentoring scheme is invaluable because it gives the student mentees an opportunity to develop their career opportunities through direct contact with those who know how they are required to present their CVs, application forms and cover letters, that is, real solicitors and barristers in practice.
Furthermore the mentees benefit from the wealth of experience and knowledge of the profession that their mentors possess, completely free of charge. My advice to student mentees is to treat their place on the scheme as if it was all their Christmases and birthdays rolled into one and to prioritise it above all else.”