We were very pleased to sign up Sydney Russell Secondary School, based in Dagenham, to our Schools Donation Programme earlier this year. We wanted to make sure the connection with this dynamic secondary school in East London got off to a flying start.
As well as an in-school free legal advice clinic run by one of our leading Legal Executives in the family department, Amanda Mansbridge, we wanted to ensure we helped the school in any work experience opportunities we could offer.
Like many firms, we get many requests for student work experience opportunities. Seeing a law firm in action is a great way of understanding the job lawyers do and how we put those hard years of training into action.
The school’s Alumni lead Ms. De Gouttes worked closely with our Head of Operations to develop an authentic application and interview process for both the Year 11 and Year 12 applicants.
Shortlisted candidates were interviewed and in June and July this year we had the pleasure of welcoming Oyedapo Okinbaloye and Folakemi Omisore from year 12 and then Brandon Scott from Year 11
Oyedapo had expressed a particular interest in Family Law and he was able to spend a week in our Romford office seeing clients, working on files and ultimately shadowing alongside a Judge at Romford County Court.
Folakemi had an equally exciting week in our Mental Health department working in our Grays office, having the chance to go to a Hospital to see a client detained under the Mental Health Act.
Oyedapo in his feedback said:
“The internship program was a fun and informative experience. I was able to learn much about the day to day workings of being a solicitor as well as all the different pathways available when looking to get qualified. I have found that the work shadowing at Sternberg Reed has assisted me in deciding whether I would like to pursue a career in law and I would encourage others to take part if they are given the opportunity.”
Folakemi was equally positive in her feedback after her week at our Grays office
“This week has left me feeling inspired. At the deep end of Mental Health soliciting, I’ve met skilled negotiators; shadowed approachable, well-informed individuals, and witnessed a standard of cooperation which I’ve never encountered in a workspace before. This was my first time witnessing such a level of professionalism, and it must be said that the bar has been set high. I’d like to thank Frances Anderson, Umar Kankiya of the Grays Mental Health department, and the entire Sternberg Reed family for the experience.”
Following this positive experience which culminated with a visit to our new Stratford office and a debrief with Fran Anderson our Head of Operations we were able to follow this up with an in-school Q and A session at which Amanda from our Family Department (and a former student of Sydney Russell), met with Year 12 students to answer questions and give them some further insight into the work we do and how to get to become a lawyer.
Following on from the year 12 experience we were able to offer a further week’s experience to one lucky Year 11 Student. The application process was as rigorous and the successful candidate was Brandon Scott. Brandon was able to work from our Barking office and work with both our busy Family department and our wills and probate team.
We were really impressed with all the students we met, both those who were successful in their work experience applications and showed such interest and enthusiasm during their weeks with us and also the students we met at the school during the Q and A session.
We are already looking forward to next year’s applications!
If you would like more information about how our School Donation Programme helps both local schools and charities please contact us here