Expert advice and support for law students
8 March 2019
Yorkshire law firms are lending their legal expertise to the next generation of Leeds Beckett University students.
The Law Career Mentor Scheme at Leeds Law School matches undergraduates with a range of barristers, solicitors, trainee solicitors and paralegals from highly-regarded local and national law firms, along with chambers, banks and branches of government.
Every mentor - many of which are themselves former Leeds Law School students - offers their mentee the opportunity to learn about the realities of becoming and practising as a qualified legal professional on a one-to-one basis.
Jenni Taylor, Senior Lecturer at Leeds Law School and Co-ordinator for the Mentoring Scheme, said: “The scheme is a fantastic opportunity for students to be paired with a qualified professional and gain valuable insight into a career in the law from a unique perspective.
“It is also a brilliant example of the support and endorsement Leeds Law School has from the professionals who give up their time to help students with their career aspirations.”
Each year, a new round of the scheme is launched with an event that brings together all the mentors and mentees, offering all those attending the opportunity to network.
To be involved in the scheme – which is available to every law student – students submit an application and are invited to interview. Successful applicants are then matched with an individual mentor.
Among the experienced mentors is Victoria Goddard (pictured), a partner at international law firm Pinsent Masons LLP.
Her law firm, she said, has had a relationship with Leeds Beckett going back about 20 years.
“I was approached by Leeds Law School to be a mentor at a time when my husband, who was a civil engineer, was requalifying as a lawyer and went to Leeds Beckett to do the law conversion course and Legal Practice Course.
“He had a very positive experience – I recall going to his graduation with our newly-born first child where he was awarded a prize – and so when I was approached I was keen to enhance the professional relationship I already had with the University.”
Victoria added: “I’m there to offer guidance and support in whatever way I can. It’s up to the student to initiate contact and when they do I invite them to our office – sometimes it might be the first time they have been inside a law firm.
“I take them on a tour of the office and always make sure that they meet some of our trainees – I’m very conscious that I graduated nearly 30 years ago and our trainees can offer a valuable insight into the current recruitment processes of the various firms in Leeds and further afield.”
Deveral Capps, Dean of Leeds Law School said: “So often our students want to work in legal or other sectors but don’t have any suitable contacts; our mentoring scheme provides them and ultimately helps our students succeed following graduation. It is also wonderful that so many of our alumni are involved and happy to give something back to Leeds Beckett."