Helping students from under-represented backgrounds into law

The Law Mentoring Programme has launched at London Metropolitan University

Date: 12 November 2014

Becoming a solicitor and getting that all important training contract isn’t easy. And London Metropolitan University is doing its bit for its own with the launch of a programme to help students from under-represented backgrounds into the legal profession.

The scheme works on the basis of passing knowledge down by matching up undergraduate law students to Legal Practice Course (LPC) students and LPC students with working solicitors.

Sophie Williams works at Block and Co Solicitors and is one of 20 solicitors on board to mentor LPC students.

She said: “I hope students will gain a realistic insight into how the profession works, and appreciate that there are so many areas of law to consider going into. To obtain a passion for a certain area of law is a must. But to obtain that passion, students need to get themselves into firms.”

And Sophie knows the importance of setting yourself apart as an aspiring lawyer. She said: “I had been doing work experience placements at law firms from the age of 15. A large firm on the south coast offered me a position of becoming a Crown Court caseworker at the age of 18 during my gap year, where I was offered a training contract prior to starting university.

“I spent every vacation working there once at university and then subsequently completed my training contract and spent two years there following qualification. However for friends of mine who were not as lucky and had a very simplified view of how obtaining a training contract works, this scheme would have been perfect.”

Qi Xu is one of London Met’s LPC student who is taking advantage of the programme in order to gain a real insight into daily life for a solicitor.

She said: “My mentor is really nice and helpful. I enjoy my sessions with her and am able to discuss my concerns.”

Qi would like to specialise in commercial or employment law. She said: “I am always interested in commercial law and did my master degree in commercial law. As to employment law, I recently did a work placement in that area which was a great experience. I definitely want to learn more in this area.”

Student Dafni Tsokou is both a mentor to undergraduate students and being mentored by a working solicitor.

She said: “I really enjoy being a part of this programme. My mentor is really helpful and always willing to meet me or talk to me if I need something. We are currently trying to make some plans regarding my approach to a firm I would really like to work for.”