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published SEPTEMBER 19, 2011
Law firms unite to improve access to the legal profession

Twenty three of the UK's leading law firms have demonstrated their long-term commitment to improving access to the legal profession by launching PRIME, a profession-wide undertaking to give fair access to quality work experience for young people from less privileged backgrounds.
Supported by the Law Societies of England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland; and The Sutton Trust, PRIME commits member firms to provide work experience which gives an insight into the range of careers available in the legal profession and the potential routes into those careers.
Member firms will provide an agreed number of work experience places that meet a series of minimum standards:

Barry O’Brien, partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, said: “Work experience plays a vital role in giving today's young people a first taste of the workplace and an understanding of what it takes to succeed. It is particularly important for those who come from less privileged backgrounds as it helps to raise aspirations and broaden horizons. However, it can be difficult for talented individuals from less privileged backgrounds to access opportunities for quality work experience.
"By collaborating as a profession we have a better chance of creating equal opportunities for all and ensuring that the legal profession becomes more representative of society as whole. I would urge all law firms to support PRIME."
Rt Hon Alan Milburn Alan Milburn said: “The lack of social mobility in our society is not a problem that can be solved by any one organisation or any one sector. Sections of our society who play a part in the problem, and who have a stake in finding a solution, need to take collective responsibility and work together to provide meaningful solutions. The legal profession is a great example. If the cycle of unequal distribution of opportunity is to be broken, and the most talented people from all backgrounds are to be given a fair chance, the sector needs to act. And through the Prime programme this is what it is doing."
Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of The Sutton Trust, added: "We know that non-privileged young people have great difficulty in getting work placements that give them that vital first experience of the professions. I'm pleased to see that PRIME identifies and supports these young people, including those on free school meals and who have no family history of going to university."
The founding members of PRIME are: Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy, Arthur Cox, Ashurst, Blake Lapthorn, Brodies, Clifford Chance, CMS Cameron McKenna, Dickinson Dees, DLA Piper, Dundas & Wilson, Eversheds, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters, Maclay, Murray & Spens, McGrigors, Norton Rose, Pinsent Masons, Shepherd & Wedderburn, Slaughter and May and Trowers & Hamlins.
For full details of the minimum standards or information about how law firms can commit to PRIME, please visit




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