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Online mentoring programmes: addressing the graduate skills gap and lack of diversity in legal recruitment

Online mentoring programmes: addressing the graduate skills gap and lack of diversity in legal recruitment

Withey, Carol ORCID: 0009-0001-6415-336X (2023) Online mentoring programmes: addressing the graduate skills gap and lack of diversity in legal recruitment. In: Association of Law Teachers Annual Conference 2023, 17th - 18th April 2023, University of Westminster Law School, & Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. (Unpublished)

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In 2021 the Government developed a ‘Levelling Up Law’ initiative. The author attended a series of meetings, also attended by MPs, fifteen city law firms and diversity heads from nine universities. the law firms shared statistics on recruitment and progression. On average, only 50% of employees had been educated in state schools and 75% of employees were white. Whilst women and men had been recruited more of less equally, women had struggled to gain promotion to senior partner level, with some firms reporting this figure to be only 15%. It was also apparent that few outreach initiatives specifically target non-Russel Group universities. Recommendations in the resulting report encouraged this. Around the same time, employers were raising the legal skills gap issue. In Essential Framework for Enhancing Student Success: Embedding Employability in Higher Education, Advanced HE identify ten areas of focus that are integral for graduate employability. The author recognised a conundrum; how to implement this framework in an already packed curriculum, without reducing legal knowledge content. The author developed an initiative with the aim of addressing both diversity in the law and the skills gap. The author created a platform, comprised of online mentoring programmes, which aim to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and practice. The programmes are extra-curricular and delivered early evening, which is the most inclusive model for law students given that most commute and have jobs and responsibilities. The author contacted law firms and organisations passionate about EDI. The programmes are subject based, which means that different organisations can contribute to one programme. Each programme has at least five sessions, and at least two, ideally three, are task-based. The University of Greenwich now has three mentor programmes: Criminal Law and Practice; Commercial Law and Practice; and Competition Law and Practice. This presentation explain how the schemes work, and analyses the impact on both mentees and mentors. The schemes have been hugely successful. One of the District Crown Prosecutors who mentored on the CPS scheme provides useful insight from a mentor's perspective.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: mentoring; skills gap; employability; clinical legal education; EDI
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Law & Criminology (LAC)
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 29 Jul 2023 10:27

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