Tomorrow, (Wednesday 27th October), national law firm Browne Jacobson (@brownejacobson) will host its second FAIRE: virtual work experience and legal careers insight event, in partnership with Young Professionals. The event will provide students with unrivalled insight into legal career options, and support their ambitions by giving them the chance to develop their commercial awareness skills and understand the challenges and hurdles they may need to overcome to achieve their dream career.

The event is part of the firm’s FAIRE initiative – which stands for Fairer Access Into Real Experience – and is one of the UK’s largest social mobility schemes for the legal profession. In addition to insight events and virtual training sessions, FAIRE offers students equal access to work experience that can pave the way for a career in the legal sector. The first event in April was a two day ‘virtual’ programme which attracted over 7,000 attendees – putting it amongst the largest events of its kind. Attendees came from across the UK, including over 50% from Black, Asian or Minority ethnic communities and a high proportion from lower socio-economic postcodes. The event pro-actively targeted schools in every social mobility cold spot.

Tomorrow’s event looks to build on this success and offer further support to students from lower socio-economic backgrounds interested in a legal career. The one-day virtual event is free to attend and has attracted significant interest, with over 8,200 registered participants, including 76% female, 57% BAME and 55% from social mobility backgrounds. FAIRE events are unique in offering free access for all students, with no specific academic grades needed and no lengthy selective application process.

Hosted from Browne Jacobson’s London office, the event will feature high-profile speakers from the legal profession, including Sally Penni MBE, Barrister and author of Women in Law, Shaun Wallace, Barrister and television personality, who features on ITV’s The Chase, Paul McConnell, Head of Employability at University of Birmingham Law School and Lubna Shuja, Vice-President of the Law Society. The speakers will host sessions on topics ranging from the importance of diversity in the legal sector, panel discussions on the SQE and career opportunities in the CPS, demonstrating the breadth of opportunities available to students in the legal sector.

After the event, all attendees will receive an e-certificate to add to their CV, to help enhance their future career prospects. They will also be able to access further support through virtual skill sessions, including CV workshops, sessions around commercial awareness and how to succeed at assessment centres.

Browne Jacobson’s commitment to promoting greater diversity and inclusion in the legal profession is nationally recognised. Its innovative approach, spearheaded by the FAIRE programme, secured the Innovation in  Diversity & Inclusion Award at the 2021 Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards and the Innovation Award at the fifth annual UK Social Mobility Awards 2021.

Tom Lyas, Recruitment Manager at Browne Jacobson and creator of FAIRE, commented:

“I am extremely proud of our commitment at Browne Jacobson to supporting greater access to the profession.  The pandemic has had a huge impact on this generation of young people. Not only has their education been disrupted, but many career events and opportunities have been taken away from them too. 

Building on the success of our first event, this time we have worked to increase our reach even further to students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, who have been particularly affected by the pandemic, by working with schools and higher education providers in social mobility cold spots. 

This event is part of a series of events designed to realise our ambition as a firm of breaking down barriers to accessing careers in professional services. We are committed to attracting future talent to the profession and helping people from all backgrounds get a foot in the door, and the FAIRE initiative and this event are a key part of this.”

Mark Blois, partner and head of Browne Jacobson’s education practice said:

“We are delighted to see the return of the FAIRE: virtual work experience and legal carers insight event. As a law firm working with more than 1300 education provider clients nationally every year, we absolutely see the benefit in of this kind of event. People from lower socio-economic and minority backgrounds are still hugely underrepresented in the legal profession so events like this will be integral in changing the way law firms recruit future talent and ensuring law firms foster a culture of inclusivity.”

Dan Miller, Founder and CEO of Young Professionals, commented:

“We are really proud to have been working with Browne Jacobson for a few years now and in particular on the FAIRE programme. This work experience scheme has helped thousands of students across the U.K. secure some fantastic insights to the legal industry. We are looking forward to continuing our support on reaching more students from social mobility backgrounds and helping them further as they enter into the world of work.” 

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