20 February 2018

Taking place on 13 and 15 February 2018, the events were attended by 83 GCSE and A-Level students from 22 different schools. The days gave the students an overview of the legal profession, the career options available to them as well as different routes into law including choosing an apprenticeship.

This year, the firm piloted a new interactive session on the GCSE day, run by His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood QC of Bristol Family Court. Together with performing artist Keran Brady, Stephen read through a scenario which included some challenging questions for the students to think about.

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

“I found this session the most useful, engaging and educational."

“It helped me to understand law and the complexity of cases in a new way.”

“I found this very useful as it allowed an insight into an area of law which I knew little about."

Stephen says: “This was an extremely well organised event. The students that attended were keen to get involved in the debate and were very astute. I learnt a lot from listening to them. I also felt a surge of confidence for the future in knowing that, amongst those students, are some of the next generation of lawyers. So, thank you to them and also to Burges Salmon for organising this very worthwhile day.”

Jess Sharratt, Widening Participation 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 found this very helpful:

“Extremely useful as I wasn’t aware of any of the information before the presentation.”

“I found it very useful because I now understand what I have to do to get to university.”

Both days included interactive group discussions, which proved useful as the students enjoyed meeting other students from different schools. Each group was allocated a trainee solicitor for the day, which the students found of value as they could ask them questions directly and learn first-hand from their experiences. Another highlight was the negotiation skills exercise, which students mentioned as being "fun", "good experience for the future", "learnt new skills".

Both days 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 degree choices, students said:

  • “I now know that I have many more options other than just a law degree at uni."
  • "I feel like doing an apprenticeship to become qualified as I am more hands on.”
  • “Gave greater clarity to my career choices and future which I appreciate"

The firm collated diversity data about the attendees. Of the students who completed the forms:

  • 80% were female and 20% male.
  • 33% were either on free school meals or the first of their generation to aspire to go to university.
  • 82% of students attended state school whilst 18% attended independent school.

Catherine Correia, Burges Salmon's Corporate Responsibility Manager, comments: "We changed the format of our Law Information Days this year and are really pleased that the new sessions were well received by the students. Access to the legal profession is central to the work we do with schools so we felt it was important to include other aspects of law and provide important information about the various routes into the profession.

“It was fantastic to be able to host 83 students from schools across Bristol and the South West; committed and interested young people who took time out of their half-term and revision schedule. I would urge other businesses to try and open up their doors to young people too.”

Key contact

Cheryl Parkhouse

Cheryl Parkhouse Senior Associate

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