12 August 2021

Burges Salmon’s Bright Sparks Work Experience Programme was originally launched in the summer of 2013 and continues to go from strength to strength. This year the programme took place virtually for one week in July welcoming some 30 students aged 15 to 19. The firm is pleased to have included a number of students based in Scotland in addition to the usual English participants, following a career insight session held in connection with the firm’s Edinburgh office.

Bright Sparks forms part of the firm’s commitment to PRIME; an alliance of law firms and legal departments across the UK that offer fair and equal access to quality work experience to young people from less privileged backgrounds, with the aim of broadening access to careers in the legal profession.

This year the programme provided the students with an insight into Burges Salmon, career opportunities in the legal sector and the type of professional skills needed to succeed. The week started with a welcome and overview by Burges Salmon’s Senior Partner, Chris Seaton, and was followed by a variety of interactive sessions. These included a practical networking task, a Responsible Business session, presentation skills, career routes and recruitment process, legal and technology innovation, culture and people, the Chancery Lane Project, making the most of social media and LinkedIn and the Importance of wellbeing and personal brand. The students benefited from hearing first-hand experiences from the firm’s trainees and apprentices.

Some of the feedback from the students about what they enjoyed the most includes:

  • “Learning new skills such as networking, along with being able to speak with the firm’s business professionals and solicitors whose shoes I hope to be in in the near future.”
  • “I enjoyed the presentations the most and found the actual research interesting and informative. I also had fun working in smaller groups with people from different places across the country and learning about what the study. One of the highlights was listening to the various speakers explain how they had got to the place that they are today.”
  • “I wanted to say a huge ‘thank you’ to you, Gemma and the team, for organising the Bright Sparks programme. Even with it being online, it was a great opportunity and feel I have accumulated many skills.”

The students were tasked to research two legal exercises, which focused on the practice areas of Disputes Resolution and Real Estate. This year’s group project was focused around the Environment and Climate Change. 

Further feedback from the students about what they enjoyed includes:

  • “I particularly enjoyed the group project and thought it was on a very topical subject, which was great to widen my knowledge. The legal tasks were my favourite part, as I feel this will be very useful and taught me transferable skills that I can apply when studying law.”
  • “I felt the group project developed my skills to work and talk to strangers in a way that I would be unlikely to be able to practice anywhere else. I also enjoyed the first legal task, as it enhanced my researching skills, and put into practice case research, which is something I love.”
  • “One of my favourite activities was the legal exercise which we had to answer questions from a fictional client. This was extremely useful as I feel that it was a very similar task to what I will hopefully be doing in university and later in life, so I was able to gain useful skills from this.”

Reviews from parents / carers includes:

  • “Thank you so much for giving my son the opportunity to be a part of your Work Experience programme. He has enjoyed this week immensely, it will be of huge value to him as he furthers his long held desire to enter the world of Law.”
  • “My daughter really enjoyed the week and working towards and presenting their project at the end .As a parent, I found the presentations in the afternoon very informative and I’m sure they gained valuable experience doing their research.”

Kirsty Green-Mann, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Burges Salmon, says: “Delivering this work experience programme takes time and effort from a wide range of people across the firm, to whom we are very grateful. A big ‘thank you’ goes to our external collaborators who formed a panel to quiz the students on their project work. This year, we thank Tania Pugh from client FSCS, Jess Batty from Envision and Lauren Darwent from Teach First.

“Congratulations and well done to all the Bright Sparks 2021 participants on completing their placements with great enthusiasm. We wish them all the best for their aspirations and hope to see some of them apply for future opportunities with us at Burges Salmon.”

Key contact

Cheryl Parkhouse

Cheryl Parkhouse Senior Associate

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