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Osborne Clarke to mentor disadvantaged school kids in social mobility push

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Lawyers will provide CV and interview support as well as offer career insights as part of new partnership with three secondary schools

Osborne Clarke is ramping up its social mobility efforts through a new partnership which will see it provide careers support to disadvantaged school children.

The international law firm has joined forces with three secondary schools in UK cities in which it has offices, as part of a new programme run in conjunction with social mobility organisation Visionpath.

OC’s volunteer lawyers and staff will deliver online interview and CV surgeries as well as run workshops on apprenticeship opportunities within the legal profession. They will also share their career journeys, from school to the present day, and provide one-to-one mentoring to students who require “more direct support to navigate their future choices”.

Further support on the scheme, dubbed ‘The Bridge’, includes interactive sessions on the various opportunities available to students, both fee-earning and non-legal, and events on diversity in the profession.

Bola Gibson, head of inclusion and corporate responsibility at Osborne Clarke, commented:

“It’s really important to us that we make an impact in the communities in which we work. The Bridge is a long-term commitment to these schools, their students and our people to help prepare the next generation to thrive.”

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The three secondary schools OC is partnering with are: Skinner’s Academy in London, John Madejski Academy in Reading, and Merchant’s Academy in Bristol.

On the decision to select these three schools, Visionpath’s founder Patrick Philpott pointed to their “disproportionate levels of disadvantage relative to the communities they are in, compared with national and local benchmarking data”. He added that “this approach ensures we target our efforts where we can make the biggest impact with those who need our support most”.

This year has seen a number of City law firms launch initiatives in a bid to improve social mobility and diversity across the legal profession.

Last week Norton Rose Fulbright launched a new bursary scheme that will see it offer financial support to aspiring lawyers from underprivileged backgrounds, while earlier this summer Gowling WLG pledged to help fund Black students through law school as part of a new partnership with Birmingham University. Elsewhere, Freshfields and Linklaters have both launched mentoring schemes with similar social mobility aims.

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