Hill Dickinson admits auctioning off work experience ‘had not been thought through’ as it pulls listing

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Two-week placement had formed charity auction lot

Commercial outfit Hill Dickinson has withdrawn a work experience placement it had donated to a charity auction, deciding to make a contribution to the charity instead.

Peter Jackson, the CEO of the Liverpool-headquartered law firm, described the auction lot as “a well-intentioned attempt by a partner to raise funds for a worthy charity which had not been thought through”. Continuing, he said:

“The initiative does not form part of the firm’s activities in this area and the wider business — including our human resources team (who administer our work experience/internships programmes) — was not aware of it.”

The international outfit had reportedly donated the two-week placement in its Manchester office to be listed in an auction for the Beating Hearts Ball. This is a fundraising gala dinner in aid of the British Heart Foundation, which takes place next week in London. Hill Dickinson is listed as an “event supporter” on the Beating Hearts Ball website, alongside the likes of Argos, Café De Paris, Funky Pigeon, Loose Women and The Old Vic.

The 2018 Firms Most List

According to weekly legal blog RollOnFriday, a chance to work at Hill Dickinson’s real estate team had been listed alongside “Dua Lipa signed album” and “trip in a party bus or stretch hummer” in the charity auction. The minimum bid was set at £100.

Jackson continued:

“We would like to stress that we provide around 54 vacation internships each year and also provided work experience placements for 92 students in 2016 and 100 students in 2017. Applications for placements have always been open to all and without charge and this will remain the case.”

Hill Dickinson has now suffered the same fate as Freshfields and Allen & Overy, who in 2016 had pulled work experience placements they’d put up for charity auction.

The fortnight stint at Freshfields and week-long position at Allen & Overy had been pledged as prizes to raise money for The Duchenne Research Fund, which helps find cures for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Some years before that, Westminster School had auctioned off a short placement with a criminal defence barrister, which eventually went for £2,660.

Social mobility in the law is a particularly hot topic as of late, a number of recent articles pushing the issue into the spotlight. Just yesterday, we reported on new research which suggests firms that pay the highest salaries are also the firms with the most private school kids. The average newly qualified (NQ) salary at a firm with 0-19% state school-educated trainees is more than £100,000. However, at firms where 80-100% of trainees are from free schools, average NQ wage is less than £50,000.

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I understand the concerns, but this is a bit OTT. So one young man or woman would get a fortnight in a solicitor’s firm looking at documents about property transactions. And a worthy charity would get a donation.

NO! Shout this down! We cannot have one single person who gets any experience, however marginal, without going through the most rigorous and fair procedure. The fact that it’s for a good cause and nobody in their right mind would object is irrelevant. We want obedience to our view. And we will get obedience.

By the way, lawyers with kids: do NOT refer to the law at home. Ever. You will be giving advantage to your children. So we will hunt you down and expose you for the disadvantage-perpetuating scum that you are.



We get it, your parents are lawyers. Don’t beat yourself up about your privilege.



Nah, neither were lawyers. No lawyers ever in my family before me.

But do crack on.



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This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.


This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



Working at Hill Dickinson is in itself an act of charity.






I wouldn’t let Hill Dickinson pay me for putting them on my cv let alone pay anyone for the opporunity of putting them on my cv.



Agree. One must be outraged. Any head start must be frowned upon. We would never wish for our own children to have an privileges.



Katie, there are other topics – not just sexism and social mobility. This site is becoming intolerably boring. Change the record and mix it up a bit please, for the love of God.



And yet, you remain!!!



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



I applaud this article for the first correct use of a gavel image I have seen in an piece about law in England



I wonder how much it would have gone for.

“Work experience at Hill Dicks” start the bidding at 50p.

75p going going gone.

DWF or Irwin Mitchell would have obviously got much more, say £5.00 each.



Will Legal Cheek stop holding events sponsored by BPP who rob students of £19k each per year for the BPTC which by all accounts is utterly useless?


Cynical Cynthia

I think that the negative social impact of having a well-off person made slightly better-off through a placement at a fouth-rate firm is minimal.



As someone who grew up on free school meals, state school bursaries and has worked ever since they were 14, it’s encouraging that many top city firms employ social mobility and diversity programmes.
On the other hand, it’s deeply discouraging and perpetuates the aura of elitism around the legal industry when you see someone paying for the work experience that everyone else has to work so hard to even get the opportunity to apply for.

Personally, I have been lucky enough to gain places on schemes with a couple of magic circle firms and one silver circle firm this summer. I hope other firms follow in their footsteps and begin to see the benefit of working with organisations such as RARE to increase social mobility in law. I would not have had the knowledge, courage or skills needed to apply had it not been for RARE and the progressive outlooks of each of the firms I will be working at.


Cynical Cynthia

Ah yes, the typical ‘let me throw in the firms I will vac scheme at’ humblebrag dressed up as a serious post.



I apologise, the comment was not meant to be boastful and I am sorry it came across that way.
It was rather to emphasise the great effort some firms are putting in to increase social mobility, and to show what a shame it is when other firms don’t follow those same aims.



Mhmm sure it was


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