Osborne Clarke has partnered with the Social Mobility Business Partnership again to host a work experience programme for sixth form students from socially diverse backgrounds. This is the fifth year of the programme, which has welcomed 40 work experience students to date.   

Osborne Clarke's Social Diversity Network managed and delivered the programme for the sixth form students, who have all been selected from the firm's The Bridge programme partner schools: Skinners Academy (London), John Madejski Academy (Reading) and Merchants Academy (Bristol). 

Held virtually during October half-term, the students came together for three days to gather insight into the inner workings of a commercial law firm and experience what a career in law is like.

The programme kicked off with a welcome introduction from UK Managing Partner and SMBP board member, Ray Berg. Ray introduced the firm and discussed his own social background, having been the first person in his family to go to university. 

As well as learning about various service and sector specialisms across the legal  and business services teams, the students were also given an in-depth interactive cyber security simulation task. 

Phil Kemp, a senior associate in the dispute resolution team and volunteer on the programme, commented:  "We ran workshops over a three day period to give the students some examples of the research, document analysis, writing and advising skills that we use each day as lawyers. They were brilliant, really engaged, and we had some fantastic discussions around data breaches, whether it is right to pay a ransom and the impact of social media. We all came away with lots to think about!"

The students were resounding positive about the programme and enjoyed the cybersecurity workshops, conversations and debates, with one attendee commenting, 'It was really useful, I learnt what different lawyers do and its more practical than I thought.'

Each young person also had one-to-one sessions with a dedicated Osborne Clarke buddy, which included a daily check-in and time for reflective discussion. 
Osborne Clarke has a long-standing commitment to advancing social diversity in the legal sector. The firm recently launched its Social Diversity Network, which aims to develop an open and inclusive environment for all employees, irrespective of their social background.