Linklaters expands D&I scholarship scheme across seven European offices
Roll out of programme designed to lower barriers to legal careers follows pilot at London headquarters
Linklaters is expanding a scholarship programme for students from disadvantaged and racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds across seven offices in continental Europe after successfully piloting the scheme at its London headquarters.
The programme, which includes a €3,000 stipend, will be offered in Linklaters’ offices in Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Milan, Paris and Stockholm, in addition to London.
There will be up to two candidates per office, meaning that the programme will have a maximum of 16 places.
The initiative was developed as part of the firm’s wider Making Links programme, which was launched in 2018 and covers a range of schemes offered by the firm focused on attracting, recruiting and developing talent from underrepresented backgrounds.
As Making Links scholars, students gain access to professional mentoring sessions, internship and networking opportunities, access to Linklaters’ events and local office activities in addition to the stipend.
Declan Mcloughlin, a former Making Links scholar and current Linklaters legal assistant, said: “There are very few people from my sort of background in law. I didn’t quite realise that my skills were valuable until someone sat me down and talked me through it, and that only came from the mentorship I got with the scholarship.”
Paloma Fierro, Linklaters’ global diversity and inclusion partner, added: “We are delighted to be expanding the reach and impact of the Making Links Scholarship programme across Europe. The programme offers support that historically many individuals entering the legal profession might naturally have had access to through family, school, or other networks. To ensure that the legal sector is truly representative and inclusive we need to level the playing field and make sure that there is equal access to opportunity.”
In April, the firm added an additional limb to the Making Links programme, teaming up with the Social Mobility Foundation and the Amos Bursary to launch Making Links Discovery, an 18-month programme for up to 30 16- to 18-year-old students across the UK who will then have the opportunity to be fast-tracked onto the scholarship programme.
Last month, Linklaters partnered up with SoftBank’s Vision Fund Emerge 2021 programme in a bid to promote diversity in tech by supporting underrepresented startup founders.
In October last year, the firm set out a new race action plan designed to increase black racial diversity among its lawyers in response to a growing global anti-racism movement triggered by the killing of George Floyd in the US.
It ranked as a top 20 employer for advancing social mobility in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2020, which ranks employers by their efforts to boost social mobility, such as how they find, recruit and advance the careers of employees from different social backgrounds.
Norton Rose Fulbright, meanwhile, is among a number of UK law firms to have launched legal apprenticeship programmes for school leavers in an effort to promote alternative pathways into the legal profession.