Josh Richman - Access and opportunity: the Aspiring Solicitors mentoring scheme
Want to read this article later?
Just tap MyLCN+ to save it to your account
The battle to ensure equality of opportunity and diversity across the legal profession is still being fought. A huge range of people – including those who went to state schools, those who are from a black or minority ethnic background, those with disabilities and those who are LGBT – still face unfair, illogical barriers to their career ambitions in a profession which has traditionally hired white, male, privately educated candidates in overwhelmingly disproportionate numbers.
Thankfully, there is lots of work going on to set this right and ensure that anyone with the requisite ability, rather than accent, ethnicity or sexuality, can have the opportunity to build a career in the legal profession. At the forefront of this is Aspiring Solicitors, LCN’s diversity partner, which works to widen opportunities in law by providing access and assistance to students from underrepresented groups, and educating those with the power to create change.
Aspiring Solicitors runs a free, all-travel-and-other-expenses-paid mentoring scheme which should be of real interest to LCN readers. The scheme will link up 15 candidates for one-to-one meetings with mentors on the Aspiring Solicitors Advisory Board, who will also take mentees to lunches and other networking events to build up their contacts, and provide bespoke application advice at later stages. Furthermore, LCN will be providing eight places for Aspiring Solicitors mentees at each of its CityLawLIVE and NationalLawLIVE careers conferences in December, which guarantee valuable opportunities to learn from and network with lawyers and recruiters at the country’s top commercial firms.
But all that aside, one of the crucial benefits of the mentoring scheme is its emphasis on instilling confidence, which is drilled into those privileged enough to go to private school from an early age and which is too often lacking in other candidates. “Mentoring is the best way of developing confidence, the number one barrier those from underrepresented backgrounds face when trying to pursue a legal career,” says Aspiring Solicitors founder, Chris White. “Tackling a lack of confidence head-on through mentoring has the potential to have an above average impact on individuals’ performance. The Aspiring Solicitors’ Advisory Board comprises nine leading, senior legal professionals, all of whom have had first-hand experience of diversity challenges across various fields. They also all have a passion to assist others to come through those challenges.”
If you want to apply for mentoring, you just need to register for free at Aspiring Solicitors, provide your CV, disclose whether you are part of any other diversity initiative and write 200 words on why you think you should be on the scheme. All the application details are on the Aspiring Solicitors website – good luck!