Legal Work Experience

16-18 Year Olds SMBP

The Legal Social Mobility Partnership (LSMP) and Aspiring Solicitors have joined forces to create a powerful partnership to increase access to a career in law for students from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in the legal profession. The partnership is supported by 34 law firms and 20 corporations throughout the UK.

What is the SMBP?

The SMBP was initiated by Barry Matthews, Director of Legal Affairs and Third Party Sales at ITV in 2014 and is a collaboration of law firms, their partner clients, commercial organisations and the world of professional sport. SMBP provides non-selective, state school sixth form students from less privileged backgrounds access to a Work Insight and Skills Programme and on going virtual coaching with the ultimate aim of aiding their progress within the legal profession.

The SMBP builds on the one-week PRIME legal work experience programme by offering a further week of work insight and skills training at major commercial organisations and a professional sports club with the emphasis on developing valuable work and life skills. In addition to this, and in order to provide an effective longer-term approach, in 2015 SMBP launched a LinkedIn SMBP Alumni group, to which all SMBP students are invited to join.

Through the LinkedIn SMBP Alumni group, the SMBP students will have access to professionals from the various law firms and commercial organisations involved in SMBP. They can use these contacts as a resource pool, to provide support for anything from assistance with drafting personal statements for UCAS applications to preparing for their first trainee interview.

Aspiring Solicitors and the SMBP share a common goal: to increase access to a career in law for students from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in the legal profession. Each of our schemes aims to do this by enabling students from less privileged and diverse backgrounds through a variety of programmes, designed to give such students key skills and support networks designed to assist them in reaching their goal of achieving a career in law. Our schemes work with students at different, but key, stages in their educational and professional journeys, but further impact will be achieved by forging a partnership between Aspiring Solicitors and the SMBP.

By working together we will…

  • Maximise the potential of each of our schemes by enhancing our offering, ensuring that we can make a long-term impact for participating students and their partner schools
  • Forge deeper relationships between both organisations and the partner schools and their students
  • Offer practical assistance and advice to students from the start of their A-Level studies through to their university education and then throughout the training contract process (from application to qualification and beyond)
  • Provide an effective feeder system from SMBP to Aspiring Solicitors
  • Establish a national network, with SMBP utilising Aspiring Solicitors links with universities across the UK

Benefits to the Aspiring Solicitors Student Ambassadors and Representatives from their involvement in the partnership.

Aspiring Solicitors Student Ambassadors and Representatives will benefit in the following ways:

  • Opportunity to make/develop contacts in law firms and with in-house legal teams
  • Great work experience to add to their CV from a relatively small time commitment
  • Developing networking and presentation skills from presentations at the ITV day and to schools
  • Chance to make effect change by assisting younger students (in addition to being that change themselves)

Comments from Barry and Chris

Barry – “Chris has paved the way in providing face to face support to undergraduates and graduates who do not have the benefit of family members or friends to provide them with the sense of belonging in the world of law. This new partnership will create a chain of assistance from sixth form to qualification and beyond. The aim being to ensure that those who are bright but lack confidence because of a lack familiarity are given the boost they need to succeed.”

Chris “I can’t wait for Aspiring Solicitors to start work with Barry and the SMBP team. I am eager to see the benefit of the collaboration manifest itself in the years to come for everyone involved with the scheme, including students from the SMBP, the AS Student Ambassadors and Reps and law firms and corporate with whom both organisations work. It is a true win-win situation for everyone involved.”