25 February 2019

Taking place on 19 and 21 February 2019, the events were attended by some 120 GCSE and A-Level students from a wide variety of local schools including state and independent. The days gave the students an overview of the legal profession, the career options available as well as different routes into law including choosing an apprenticeship.

Both days included interactive group discussions, which provided an opportunity for the students to mix and make connections with other students from different schools.  Each group was supported by a trainee solicitor, which enabled the students to ask questions directly and learn first-hand from their experiences.

On the GCSE day a session was run by His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood QC of Bristol Family Court. He challenged the students to think and share their views on the voting age of UK citizens, Brexit and discrimination in its many guises.

For many students this was the highlight of the day, with some saying:

  • “Law is all about finding solutions and bringing justice.”
  • “Judges are really cool.”
  • “Today gave me a bigger insight into what I want to do when I am older and this will help me choose my A-levels.”

Burges Salmon holds the Law Information Day as part of its 'Working with Schools' Programme and a responsible business commitment to make the legal professional accessible to talent from diverse and different backgrounds.

Laura Anders, Widening Participating and Undergraduate Recruitment Officer at the University of Bristol, delivered a presentation on student finance on the A-level day, dispelling some of the myths surrounding tuition fees and informing students on the various bursaries available. Many students found this very helpful:

  • “Student loans are less stressful than I had imaged.”

Another highlight identified from the student feedback was the negotiation skills exercise on the A-level day. The students noted this as being an excellent session where they had "learnt new skills". Each day concluded with a careers advice clinic run by Burges Salmon's People team where students were able to obtain information on the recruitment process, assessment centres and apprenticeships. Most students rated the day highly or very highly noting that they found the day useful, informative, helpful and interesting.  When asked about the impact the day has had on future career choices, students said:

  • “It has increased my knowledge on how to pursue law as a career.”
  • “I have learnt that if I do law, there are many possible areas that I can choose from, which has very interesting and helpful.”
  • “Everyone at Burges Salmon was very welcoming and informative. I will definitely be in contact about apprenticeships. There are also a wider range of opportunities.”

As a responsible business, diversity and inclusion are a high priority for Burges Salmon. This is not only in terms of the firm’s workplace but also for its work experience programme ‘Bright Sparks’ and Law Information Days.

In line with the legal sector PRIME commitment to help encourage wider access to the legal profession, the Law Information Days are promoted with schools from all areas across the city of Bristol. The students complete equal opportunity questionnaires so that Burges Salmon can monitor their performance in terms of appealing to male and female students, those on free school meals, first generation to aspire to go to university and a mixture of state and independent school students.

Kirsty Green-Mann, Head of Corporate Responsibility, says: “I was delighted to see the level of interest and engagement from the students. It was an opportunity to learn more on a personal level too.

"The students have to be commended for taking the time out of their half-term holiday and approaching the day with maturity and interest. I thank the large number of colleagues including Trainees, Apprentices, Partners and other Volunteers who help make the days happen.”

Key contact

Cheryl Parkhouse

Cheryl Parkhouse Senior Associate

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