Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Solicitors go back to School

One of the great things about being a Trainee Solicitor at Mayo Wynne Baxter is that they encourage you to use your initiative and take the lead on projects. Nothing has shown this better than our involvement in Local Lawyers in Schools.

Local Lawyers for Schools is a fantastic scheme run by the Citizen Foundation, a charity that arranges for solicitors to link up with local schools. When I first heard about this I was determined that Mayo Wynne Baxter should get involved.

For lots of students the thought of working in the legal profession hasn’t even occurred to them. Having the opportunity to spend time with practising solicitors offers them a great insight into a career many would never have even considered.

When I suggested to my colleagues at Mayo Wynne Baxter that they took part in the project, which would involve them teaching Law to GCSE students, some weren’t quite sure if they were ready to go back to the classroom. But a bit of gentle persuasion, and the promise of minimal homework, meant we were soon packing our satchels!

Mayo Wynne Baxter joined the scheme last year, becoming the first firm in the country to take part. Since then we have been working with the Year 10 Citizenship students at Hove Park School. We’ve covered all kinds of subjects, including police powers, drug legislation, human rights and what you have to do to become a lawyer.

The feedback from the students and their teachers has been really positive and I think they enjoyed the lessons almost as much as we did. My favourite comment was from someone who said that he thought solicitors could never get in trouble with the police because we always knew how to get away with things. Alas I had to inform him that being a solicitor wasn’t an automatic get out of jail card. He took it in his stride though and decided that a legal career was still a good idea as he liked the thought of getting paid to argue with people.

Mayo Wynne Baxter recently won praise for our involvement in Local Lawyers in Schools from the new MP for Hove, Mike Weatherley. He is going to be visiting the school this Friday (18th) to meet the students and staff and find out what they really think of lawyers and politicians. I hope they won’t be too honest!

And then, in a couple of days, we’re branching out and taking Local Lawyers for Schools to Sussex Downs College in Eastbourne. There we’ll be running tutorials for unemployed people as part of a project training volunteers for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Watch out for my next post for an update…

For further information visit www.lawyersinschools.org.uk


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