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UK-based law firm Allen & Overy has tied up with Increasing Diversity Through Increasing Access (IDIA) to bring their Smart Start Experience to India.
The firm had started the initiative to broaden access to the legal profession in the UK. The programme affords class 12 students from non-privileged backgrounds the opportunity to interact with A&O lawyers to witness first-hand workings of the business world. In addition to this, the programme focuses on developing the students’ soft skills and preparing them for interviews and presentations.
And now the programme has been brought to India, in collaboration with IDIA. The two-day programme is scheduled to start on March 8 at the National Law University, Delhi. 20 IDIA scholars from different law schools will get the chance to benefit from the experience. IDIA Associate Director Swati Agrawal offered some insight into what the programme will entail.
“Sessions will focus on building professional skills and giving a glimpse into the legal profession. They will cover persuasive writing, presentation skills, CV workshop, interview skills and networking event. The sessions are accompanied by interactive exercises for attendees such as mock interviews, group presentations, and negotiation activity.
The activities are aimed at building confidence and developing skills, from improving personal impact, to analysing, negotiating, presenting and team working. These are useful skills that students can take with them into their career of choice. In addition, students will get the opportunity to start building a network of contacts.”
In fact, IDIA already has a similar initiative in place – the CHAMPS project. Through this project, IDIA scholars are put through a mentorship programme, an internship programme to help students get internships in areas of interest, and training in professional leadership and soft skills.
The Smart Start Experience has received largely positive feedback in the UK. According to a study conducted by Allen & Overy, over 90% of the students who attended the programme in 2014 felt that it helped them hone their skills.
If this experience is anything to go by, the collaboration will go a long way in ensuring greater diversity in the legal profession.