We launched our unique Ladder to Law programme in January 2010 in the London office, in response to the 2009 report by the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions, chaired by Alan Milburn. This report recommended that social mobility be improved through every life stage including schools, universities, internship practices and recruitment processes.
Through our Ladder to Law programme we target local schools outside the traditional 'City' catchment area, reaching out to students of all ethnic backgrounds at schools where a high percentage of the pupils are on free school meals and are likely to be the first in their family to go to university. We aim to give them an insight in to what studying law would be like.
We currently have ten schools involved in the Ladder to Law programme and organise activities with students in Years 10, 11 and 12. The programme is tailored to each school and offers a different activity for each year group.
Year 10 – an interactive trainee led debating workshop which is designed to show the students that they already have many of the skills needed to become a solicitor.
Year 11 – an open day for selected students from each school designed to give a more detailed insight into what being a lawyer involves, and information on the path to becoming a lawyer. The day consists of panel discussions, group exercises, workshops, networking opportunities and insight from in-house lawyers at some of our clients.
Year 12 - one-week work experience placement in conjunction with Vodafone for a select number of students from each school, which follows the criteria set for the PRIME commitment. Sessions include:
Communication, networking and personal branding skills
CV, application and mock interview preparation
Client interaction through panel discussions and site visits
Presentations and panel discussions
Work shadowing with trainees
Since starting the programme in 2010, we have received very positive feedback from both the students and teachers involved:
Feedback on the Year 11 open day
"Very enjoyable, allows us to see what lawyers actually do in an exciting way”
“Very relaxed yet informative. Felt confident to ask questions”
“It taught me how much dedication I need to put in and has made me become very determined to be a lawyer”
“It was very helpful and I got a deeper insight into what studying law at university is like”
Student feedback on the work experience programme
"Stude“I thoroughly enjoyed my work experience at Hogan Lovells, from meeting the trainees, support staff, associates and all the way up to the senior partners. It was also a chance just to sit in an office environment and observe the daily activities of a commercial law firm. During my time I spent time in various sectors from Capital Markets to Employment law so I was exposed to different types of cases and became acquainted with the wonderful language of law – I learnt terms such as “derivatives” and “due diligence. Needless to say, the past few days has reaffirmed my determination to succeed in my studies but also develop myself as a person. It became apparent that the law environment does not just demand legal aptitude. Being able to communicate with people, work in a team and personality can be just as important!”
Jenny Dalkin, Careers & Guidance Coordinator at Paddington Academy, who has been involved in the programme since September 2010, also commented:
"The support Hogan Lovells has provided over the years has helped our students to learn about all the different careers within a law firm and what the role of a lawyer actually involves. The continuity of support through the different academic year groups has meant that students can develop their understanding through debating sessions in the classroom, a careers day at the law firm and then once in the Sixth Form they experience the work of a lawyer first hand through work experience.
One of our students commented that he had previously thought all a lawyer did was stand in court, but through the support offered by Hogan Lovells he knows that a career in law involves preparation and analysis and is primarily office based, this awareness has made the career ‘ seem much more achievable’. All students commented on how useful it was to know more about routes into law and they now have a clearer idea of what they would need to do if they too decide to become Lawyers."
Internal stake holder feedback
Associate Director of Legal Resourcing Clare Harris, who spearheads Hogan Lovells' graduate recruitment and widening access initiatives, said:
"The Ladder to Law initiative is designed to widen access to the legal profession by giving young people the information they need to encourage them towards a career in law, particularly important given the rise in university tuition fees. We want to employ the best graduates, but the first step towards this is getting young people into the universities and ensuring they are well informed about what a career in City law entails."
Ruth Grant, People Development Partner said:
As a partner responsible for our diversity initiatives in London, I'm delighted to support our Ladder to Law programme providing valuable work experience to young people from less advantaged backgrounds whilst at the same time collaborating with our clients. The London office is one of the founder members of the PRIME initiative, which is a UK based forum whereby law firms from across the UK come together to provide high quality work experience for young people who have not had many social advantages – Ladder to Law forms a key part of our commitment to PRIME. We are making a long term investment in this programme and we want to see the participants having successful careers in law or with our clients.
Rosemary Martin at Vodafone said:
We strive to operate as a truly admired legal function at Vodafone, which is why we were delighted to collaborate with Hogan Lovells to deliver the Ladder to Law programme this year. The programme has been designed so that the students can experience life both in private practice and in house. We hosted some of our own work experience placements as well as an interactive workshop at our offices for all of the students. We enjoyed giving them a taster of some of the cutting edge legal work that we are involved with and playing a part in promoting access to the legal profession while doing so.
How to get involved
Due to limited capacity, we are unable to host any students or partner with additional schools outside of the 10 schools below we currently work with:
If you are associated with another school, please refer to the PRIME Commitment website for further information on alternate school age initiatives and work experience placements throughout London www.primecommitment.org/.
If you are associated with one of the above schools and would like further information on the Ladder to Law programme, please contact Michelle Ruddle:
Email - email@example.com
Tel - 020 7296 2000
Please note that we are not able to offer individual work experience placements to students outside the Ladder to Law programme.
Hogan Lovells hosts two open days and a spring work experience programme for first year law students. Please refer to our website for further information www.hoganlovells.com/graduates