The first ever legal careers network for STEM students who want to become lawyers has been launched

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By Legal Cheek Reporter on

STEM Future Lawyers brings together top law firms and the best science, technology, engineering and maths students

The first ever legal careers network for students and graduates of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects has gone live today, with backing from a host of leading City of London law firms.

STEM Future Lawyers will facilitate the recruitment of a new generation of solicitors with the skills to bridge the gap between high-level legal practice and cutting-edge technological innovation.

In doing so, it will draw on Legal Cheek’s relationships with nearly 50 elite law firms and chambers via our series of panel discussions, Q&As and networking sessions.

At a time of change for the legal profession, that is seeing it embrace artificial intelligence-derived techniques to speed up processes from document review to the prediction of case outcomes, there is a growing demand for lawyers with a grounding in science subjects.

Legal Cheek founder Alex Aldridge described the project as “inspired by conversations with some of the law firms we work with that are seeking to boost the number of trainees they hire from STEM backgrounds.” He continued:

This is an interesting subset of students with very real skills that could prove increasingly valuable to law firms as they bid to integrate the new AI systems in which they have been investing. If the legal profession is to have its own version of Steve Jobs, I’d wager that he or she will be a millennial STEM graduate who does a law conversion and trains at a large law firm.

STEM students are getting excited about the law too, with Thomas Kwoh, the chair of Imperial College London’s student law society, summing up the mood:

As a STEM student, commercial law is a continuation of what I have enjoyed most in science: the research, the innovation and above all, the opportunity to engage with challenging and impactful problems. Conversely, City firms place great value on STEM degrees that are directly relevant to practice areas such as IP litigation, where technical know-how and scientific literacy are key. But by no means are scientists shoehorned into IP; the transferable skills from a STEM degree are applicable to almost any practice area. For instance, those with a quantitative slant can add value to a team by being better placed to understand some of the complex transactions in banking or capital markets. In brief, both the germane and transferable skills of a STEM graduate provide for fantastic opportunities, and never has there been a better or more exciting time to make the switch.

Legal Cheek will be working with STEM Future Lawyers on two upcoming events. The first, taking place on Thursday 6 July, is ‘How to make it as a City lawyer’, features one of Mayer Brown‘s junior solicitors who entered the profession from a STEM background, alongside lawyers from Herbert Smith Freehills and Hogan Lovells. Then on 12 July Legal Cheek and STEM Future Lawyers will be partnering with Pinsent Masons to host ‘Innovation and the next generation of lawyers’ at the firm’s brand new Birmingham office. Further events will take place with a wide range of leading law firms in the new academic year from Autumn.

Commenting on STEM Future Lawyers, Pinsent Masons’ graduate recruitment manager Margaret Ann Roy said:

With the continued focus on innovation and delivering efficient digital solutions to clients, the legal profession is of real interest to students who can use their background in STEM subjects, together with legal expertise to deliver new and exciting solutions while operating at the vanguard of the profession.

Mayer Brown graduate recruitment and development manager Charlotte Hart added:

We always seek to attract talent from diverse academic backgrounds to increase the range of different perspectives in approaching solutions. There is huge value in the analytical, technical and creative thinking skills that STEM students develop and as the legal profession continues to embrace transformative technologies we welcome the fact that more of these students are considering a career in law.

Alex Flatman, head of recruitment at Osborne Clarke commented:

As a business that operates in the digital business sector, we know technology is driving an unparalleled convergence between businesses, people and things. It is incredibly valuable for anyone looking to build a career in law to understand technology, but law has not traditionally been an obvious choice for STEM graduates. We’re delighted that there will now be a dedicated network and we look forward to working with members from STEM Future Lawyers.

Meanwhile, Jon Chertkow, financial institutions and graduate recruitment partner at Hogan Lovells, had this message for STEM students considering a career in law:

Innovating to stay at the forefront of technological advances, and balancing the resulting benefits with managing the inevitable unknown, is a key challenge facing not just law firms, but any business in current times. Change is happening faster than ever, and to stay ahead, you need to anticipate what’s next – understanding and solving the problem before it becomes one. Technology will undoubtedly play an increasingly important role in all our lives, both in and out of work, and as technology and the law converge now more than ever is the time for STEM students to consider a career in the legal sector.

Alex Smith, Reed Smith’s innovation manager, added:

The lawyers of the future will be those who like to play with data and know how to simplify and visualise data-driven insights for their clients. From needing to understand and interact with digital businesses to building legal technology service solutions, the skills of STEM students are set to be the core of a resetting of the legal industry. At Reed Smith we welcome lawyers with STEM backgrounds to participate in and drive our innovation programme. They won’t be short of opportunities to change the way we practice law and drive technological decisions for our clients.

Science, technology, engineering and maths students and graduates who are interested in becoming lawyers can sign up to STEM Future Lawyers.