A mentor can really help you to develop your understanding of a career, assist in growing your network and give excellent tips for successful job hunting (often including CV advice, mock interviews and sometimes work experience!)
The KLS Professional Mentoring Scheme
The KLS Professional Mentoring Scheme was set up in 2013 by the Young Alumni Group with the aim of helping students to make career choices, understand the legal working world or to navigate the application process for both work and study.
This mentoring relationship runs from the summer until the end of the Spring term. A networking event also takes place annually in London or Canterbury. Many students have reported that their mentor has offered exceptional advice, introduced them to a wider network of professionals, assisted with applications and, in a few cases, offered / arranged work experience.
- Applications open each year in Spring term
- UK based Barristers, solicitors, Scrivener Notary, paralegals and civil servants are mentors
- There are also lawyers available in Canada, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago and Malaysia + an NGO worker.
- Applications will be made available on Moodle DP237025 in Spring
How has mentoring helped Kent students:
Lots of mentees have told us how the scheme has been much more help than they imagined including introductions to a network of lawyers, work experience and evening training contract success. Take a look at these stories:
- One student attributes the scheme to his success in his training contract applications: https://www.kent.ac.uk/law/news/index.html?view=1846
- Another mentee gained work experience with someone else’s mentor at the networking event. This later led to a training contract with the firm. https://www.kent.ac.uk/law/news/?view=2088
- This is what another mentee has said about her experience:
Mentoring – Shaping Tomorrow’s Lawyers
By Chantal Cohen
“Being a mentee often starts as a game of expectation versus reality. Engaging in a mentoring experience means, managing your expectations and engaging in any opportunities that become available to you. Of course, I, like many students, need actual hands on experience in order to compete in today’s job market. While you are told that this is not part of the mentorship agreement, you non-the less go into the experience hoping that she/he can help you get further in your career.
While, those were my hopes, my experience with the mentoring scheme this year, surpassed my expectations and provided me with far more than I thought I needed. Too often in a competitive job market, new students are left feeling like they have very little to offer firms. This is where I think the schemes really shine through, and this is especially true of my mentor John Nee of Becket Chambers. What I received through this scheme was a lesson far greater than any job placement, which do not get me wrong, I am very thankful for having received, but the confidence I gained in myself is really the success of this experience.
My mentor made sure that he was always providing constructive criticism. This led to a dynamic, which reinforced and provided me with the confidence I needed to recognize that my skills obtained prior to law school, would enable me to stand out from the crowd of other applicants. We worked collectively to ensure that I presented myself in a light that would showcase my achievements and would ensure that an employer would see them as advantageous.
While I felt my late entry into law school might be a disadvantage, John explained that my life experiences would actually be an advantage, as I would be more confident at networking events. He always made sure to point out when I had done something exceptionally well, or what experiences I should highlight.
I cannot recommend joining the mentoring program enough. The best advice I can give is do not worry if a job opportunity does not come out of it, that can come from anywhere. Take advantage of the real highlight and opportunity that comes out of being a mentee, which is a learning experience. It provides a foundation to continue to develop from, with a mentor who has the ability to guide you into showcasing your best self for the job, and providing a reminder that you possess the skills these firms are after. My mentor, John Nee, did this for me.”
We continue to seek mentors from:
- KLS Alumni working in careers which have links to the law such as journalism, Human Resources etc.
- International alumni whom have returned to their home countries to work in the legal profession or whom have stayed in the UK to qualify. We have a particular need for mentors in Canada, Hong Kong and Nigeria. There is also a some need for mentors in East Africa, the Caribbean and South East Asia (needs vary every year).
If you would like to get involved please contact Liz Foden on firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Mentoring Schemes
- Aspiring Solicitors – have mentoring schemes run in conjunction with some top rated law firms
- Junior Lawyers Division Mentoring Scheme – puts future legal professionals in touch with fellow solicitors.
- Society of Asian Lawyers mentoring programme is open to final year law students
- Young Legal Aid Lawyers have a mentoring scheme
- Pegasus Access and Support Scheme – the Inner Temple offers a mini-pupillage and skills development programme. Deadlines are usually the first Friday in November but please make sure you check.
- The Society of Labour Lawyers mentoring scheme – open to students and recent graduates looking to pursue a legal career. The Scheme is not limited to those studying for a law degree. https://societyoflabourlawyers.org.uk/our-activities/mentoring/
- Grow Mentoring – GROW pairs aspiring lawyers with professionals who have similar backgrounds or interests in the legal industry. They are a charity and since launcing in 2020 they have matched over 1800 mentees with mentors.
Discuss is an exclusive training programme, sponsored by five top City firms and run by Rare, for brilliant students who are interested in City law. The programme is open to students from any discipline in their first year or second year of a four year course at any university. The programme is aimed at students from lower socioeconomic status groups, for example, students who have been in receipt of free schools meals, are the first generation in their family to attend university, or have experienced other forms of social disadvantage. Find out more here https://discusslaw.co.uk/index.html For 2019 the application window is March and April 2019.
SEO London City Solicitors Horizons (CSH) Scheme
The City Solicitors Horizons (“CS Horizons“) programme, a social mobility initiative to improve access to the legal profession for undergraduates from disadvantaged backgrounds. The initiative is run and delivered by SEO London on behalf of the City of London Solicitors’ Company, City Solicitors’ Educational Trust (“CSET“) and The Legal Education Foundation (“TLEF“), with the support of the City of London Law Society (“CLLS“) and leading law firms.
CS Horizons recruits 50 students each year to participate in a programme that will support them over a three year period, from their first year at university to graduation.
CS Horizons works with the students who join the programme in the following ways:
- Training sessions: They offer training which is designed to significantly improve students’ skills and equip them for their chosen law career. They also provide support for students who are preparing for vacation schemes
- Personal mentoring: Students will be provided with a mentor who is a lawyer at one of our leading sponsor firms. The mentors will offer regular support though either face-to-face meetings or over email
- Guaranteed work experience placements: They provide excellent work experience placements at one of our sponsors firms. A week long placement is offered each year that the students are involved in the scheme.
Candidates must have at least ABB/320 UCAS points excluding General Studies at A-Level (or equivalent)*. Candidates must be in either:
- in their first year of a law or non-law degree at university; or
- be in the penultimate year of a non-law degree at university with the intention of completing the Graduate Diploma in Law; or
- be in the second year of a four year non-law degree at university.
*If you have not achieved the specified grade due to mitigating circumstances you may still apply if you provide an explanation.
If you would like to apply to join please check whether you are eligible to apply by visiting their website here.
If you are not eligible on the basis of the social mobility criteria, you may be eligible to apply for the SEO London Corporate Law Programme. Click here for more information.
How to apply
Applications usually open in January. You will find application information here.
The following law firms have signed up to the scheme to provide mentoring, work experience and support with training sessions:
- Addleshaw Goddard
- Baker & McKenzie
- CMS Cameron McKenna
- Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
- Herbert Smith Freehills
- Holman Fenwick Willan
- Mayer Brown
- Pinsent Masons
- Reed Smith
- Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
- Stephenson Harwood
- Stewarts Law
- Sullivan & Cromwell
- Travers Smith
- White & Case
Aspiring Solicitors Ambassador Scheme
If you have a question related to working in law (or getting into it) there are many Ambassadors featured on the AS website. Read their profiles and find the person whom you think will be best placed to answer your enquiry. You are able to send them an email via the AS website. See http://www.aspiringsolicitors.co.uk/about/ambassadors/
The Law Society Diversity Access Scheme
This scheme aims to increase social diversity in the legal profession by supporting promising entrants from disadvantaged backgrounds or those who face exceptional obstacles to qualification. The DAS offers the following support to successful applicants:
- Financial assistance through the provision of Legal Practice
- Course fees access to relevant high-quality work experience
- A professional mentor
Applications for the scheme can only be made during the application cycle (Spring) – I shall let you know, via the Employability Bulletin when this happens. For now, you can find out more here https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/campaigns/diversity-access-scheme
The Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship
This is a fantastic scholarship which leads to interview coaching, commercial familiarisation, interview at the firm, and money towards study costs and mentoring. There are some very specific criteria to meet. This opportunity is available annually and applications are made in Spring. I shall let you know via the bulletin when that happens.
Other External schemes of interest – not law specific
Visible Women Connects
VW Connects is a social network and e-mentoring platform to help young women advance in their careers by connecting them with mentors in male dominated industries. Become a mentee to gain invaluable support and insight. Join the network, get connected, #VWConnects
IBM Mentoring Scheme
The aim of this scheme is to increase awareness of employability, the recruitment process, key competencies employers are looking for and advice/tips for securing a placement or graduate scheme position. The mentors will either be currently on the IBM placement scheme or will have joined as a graduate and will be encouraged to share their own experiences with their mentees. The scheme is not about encouraging you to join IBM but will give you valuable skills to apply successfully to any organisation. Aimed at second year students considering life after University. You can be studying for any degree subject and don’t need advanced computing skills.
This scheme runs between November and April.