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ITV pulls in panel firms in new development programme as it launches ‘gold plated’ CSR scheme

ITV is taking steps to embed its law firms in the fabric of the organisation by involving them in a new programme of training and development with its lawyers, as it also launches a new, extensive social mobility iniative involving private practice pairings with Microsoft, Yahoo and MTV.

The initiative, spearheaded by ITV’s director of legal affairs and third-party sales relationships, Barry Matthews (pictured), together with general counsel Andrew Garard, will see ITV roll out a four-prong development programme this year that will see it work closely with panel firms to help them understand its strategy and commercial imperatives.

For lawyers with more than two years’ PQE, ITV has partnered with Olswang to run a ‘peer partnership programme’, in which private practice and in-house lawyers research and write together a piece of management consultancy to present to Garard and Olswang chief executive David Stewart.

ITV will also ask panel firms to speak at a bi-annual best practice forum for heads of legal and host quarterly round table strategy discussions with its senior leadership team.

In a separate ITV development, Matthews has set up a new social mobility initiative, branded the Legal Social Mobility Partnership (LSMP), in which he has secured the involvement of three high-profile private practice/in-house pairings and ITV will pair up with Slaughter and May. The initiative, under which schools are picked using PRIME criteria but PRIME has no further involvement, will see Olswang and Microsoft team up to provide a two-week placement to children from underprivileged backgrounds, alongside Arnold & Porter and MTV, and Bird & Bird with Yahoo!

Twenty children will spend a week with the law firms, with a further week of training taking place in the second week of July, which will start with ITV and include a day of shadowing ITV’s team and going onto the newsroom floor, followed by a day attending rugby club Harlequins and speaking to sports psychologists; and a further three consecutive days with the legal teams at Yahoo!, MTV and Microsoft.

Matthews, who hopes the ‘gold plated’ LSMP will be used as a boilerplate for other organisations, said: ‘It’s not easy coming from a working class background and kids can feel they don’t belong, but we’re showing that we come in all shapes and sizes. This gives them something to put on their CV when they apply to university and talk about at the interview.’