Top law firms join forces with UWE to launch diversity work experience programme

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By Rhys Duncan on

Osborne Clarke, Burges Salmon and Simmons & Simmons among outfits involved

Four leading law firms in Bristol have collaborated to launch a new work experience program, with the goal of improving the diversity of candidates seeking careers in law, albeit not necessarily as lawyers.

Osborne Clarke, Burges Salmon,Simmons & Simmons and Clarke Willmott have joined the University of the West of England in creating UWE Futures.

The programme offers one week of paid work experience to students, along with a year of mentoring, and the opportunity to take up an extended internship, or a guaranteed interview for a suitable role.

The scheme plans to “directly help students who typically find it challenging to enter the legal and professional services market and to increase representation in the Bristol legal sector”.

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This year, there are 16 placements across ten business teams such as HR, change management, marketing, and risk. The opportunity is open to final year undergraduate Black, Asian, and minority ethnic students from low-income backgrounds studying at UWE Bristol.

Partner and chief operating officer at Osborne Clarke, Tim Simmonds, said:

“We set out our long-term Race Action Plan in March 2023, and a key part of this was prioritising the recruitment of ethnic minority talent. Our existing programmes are predominantly targeted towards solicitors and this opportunity will help us to increase representation across our business services teams and in our regional Bristol office.”

He continued: “We’re committed to supporting the local community by increasing opportunities within the Bristol legal market. Through this regional collaboration, we want to make a real difference to students who are capable and enthusiastic about building careers in professional services.”

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