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Mentoring schemes

24 February 2014

As a trainee at Browne Jacobson, you have the opportunity to get involved in some of the great pro bono programmes offered by the firm for the benefit of local charities and the local community. There are also schemes available to assist those looking to pursue a career in law. I am involved with two mentoring schemes that the firm offers, the first is offered to students who are enrolled on the GDL course at Nottingham Law School and the second is offered to students aged 16 – 17 at local academies in Nottingham.

Mentoring schemes provide a valuable insight into law firms that is impossible to obtain from reviewing the firm’s website and submissions about the firm in directories such as Chambers and Legal 500. They also help to provide more of a general guide as to the types of work carried out at a law firm and the different functions and roles of a solicitor, for those at the early stages of considering a career in law. They may also provide opportunities to carry out a work experience placement so that you can see for yourself what the work is really like and decide whether a career in law is for you.

For those at a more advanced stage, who are completing, or have completed the academic stage of pursuing a career in law and are considering applying for training contracts, taking part in a mentoring scheme will enable you to benefit from the experience of someone who has recently been through the application process and is able to provide advice on their personal experiences of completing application forms, interviews and attending assessment centres. I have really enjoyed being able to share some of the experiences (good and bad) that I had on the route to becoming a trainee, with my current mentees.

Being able to establish links with a firm, be that through a mentoring scheme, or by attending an open day or carrying out a work experience placement will enable you to gain additional “insider” knowledge of a firm, which may help to differentiate you from the crowd and show that you have a genuine interest in training at that particular firm. This is especially important given how competitive the market for training contracts can be.

From my personal experience, I would strongly recommend that you find out from your school, university, GDL or LPC provider whether they have links with local firms which offer mentoring schemes. I would also recommend applying for open days and vacation schemes at those firms that you are considering applying to for a training contract. Browne Jacobson offers open days during the Spring, which are a fantastic opportunity to find out more about the firm.