Law firms in Yorkshire are lending their legal expertise to the next generation of Leeds Beckett University students through a mentoring scheme.
The Law Career Mentor Scheme at Leeds Law School matches undergraduates with a range of barristers, solicitors, trainee solicitors and paralegals from local and national law firms, along with chambers, banks and branches of government.
Every mentor offers their mentee the opportunity to learn about the realities of becoming and practising as a qualified legal professional on a one-to-one basis.
Jenni Taylor, senior lecturer at Leeds Law School and co-ordinator for the mentoring scheme, said: “The scheme is a fantastic opportunity for students to be paired with a qualified professional and gain valuable insight into a career in the law from a unique perspective.”
Each year, a new round of the scheme is launched with an event that brings together all the mentors and mentees, offering all those attending the opportunity to network.
To be involved in the scheme – which is available to every law student – students submit an application and are invited to interview. Successful applicants are then matched with an individual mentor.
Victoria Goddard, a partner at Pinsent Masons LLP, is one of the mentors taking part. She said: “I’m there to offer guidance and support in whatever way I can. It’s up to the student to initiate contact and when they do I invite them to our office – sometimes it might be the first time they have been inside a law firm.
“I take them on a tour of the office and always make sure that they meet some of our trainees – I’m very conscious that I graduated nearly 30 years ago and our trainees can offer a valuable insight into the current recruitment processes of the various firms in Leeds and further afield.”
Pinsent Mason has had a relationship with Leeds Beckett going back about 20 years, Ms Goddard added.
Deveral Capps, Dean of Leeds Law School, said: “So often our students want to work in legal or other sectors but don’t have any suitable contacts; our mentoring scheme provides them and ultimately helps our students succeed following graduation.”