Barclays’ in-house legal team is to offer around 80 work experience placements to students from socio-economic groups under-represented in the legal profession in partnership with its panel law firms this summer.
In conjunction with legal diversity campaigning group Aspiring Solicitors, the 850-lawyer in-house team will run two one-week work experience placements in June for second year and up undergraduates or graduates of any UK university.
Up to 50 of the places for students on the scheme will be available to Aspiring Solicitors members, while around 15 each will be allocated to students working with the Sutton Trust and the Black Lawyers Directory.
The scheme will afford participants the opportunity to gain practical experience of key legal skills and develop an understanding of what clients expect from their advisers by shadowing lawyers at Barclays and its law firms, while also participating in seminars and panel discussions about a legal career and the increasing importance of diversity in the profession.
Successful applicants for the scheme will be required to pass two tests, including one verbal reasoning test which will accompany the initial application. The process will open on 7 April.
The bank is also in the early stages of planning a legal apprenticeship scheme, which, if it goes ahead, will be open to the first participants in 2015 at the earliest.
The news follows the announcement earlier this month that the BBC will recruit three apprentices to its in-house legal team from September.
At the BBC, school leaver participants of the scheme, which is intended to improve diversity within the organisation and will be advertised in schools, will undergo two years of training through the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.
Barclays is not the only bank to offer an extensive work experience programme. Lloyds Banking Group offers law undergraduates and graduates summer internships with around 40 of Lloyds’ 370-strong legal team acting as mentor on an ongoing basis as part of its Scholar Scheme.
Scholars from the nine universities taking part in the scheme are funded through their university and in return have to do 100 hours voluntary work.