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PRIME drives diversity within law

Forage and PRIME have partnered to provide one of the first virtual legal experience programmes for high school students in support of PRIME’s mission to ensure that “everyone can access law”.

PRIME is a not for profit organisation made up of an alliance of 60 law firms across the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Together, PRIME, with its member firms are working to improve the socio-economic diversity within the legal profession.

Launching a virtual legal experience programme was a key step in PRIME’s strategy to scale its reach and inspire as many students as possible from underprivileged backgrounds to consider a career in law.

Su Brailey, PRIME Engagement Consultant says,“Whilst a virtual experience programme will never entirely replace the magic for a young person of walking into a law firm for the first time, the impact of a virtual programme is considerable. Virtual programmes help to raise aspirations, build confidence and develop fundamental skills of students.Overall, it helps students from underprivileged backgrounds to see that a career in law is an option for them. We chose to work with Forage on this project because of their expertise and because they share our belief that talent is evenly distributed but opportunity is not”.

PRIME supports social mobility

Each year PRIME facilitates work experience in the legal industry for eligible students from years 9 to 13 in the UK. Students are able to apply for work experience directly with PRIME member firms to access quality placements.

PRIME is available to students who attend state-run schools, their parents or guardians have not attended university and those who receive free school meals, have been or are currently in a local care authority, are full or part-time carers or came to the UK as a refugee or asylum seeker.

In the past 10 years, PRIME has facilitated legal work experience for over 7,500 students.

A transition to digital

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many PRIME members firms transitioned to successfully running their work experience programmes online, ensuring students didn’t miss out on the opportunity. Building on this, PRIME wanted to provide its own virtual programme to reach more students and decided to partner with Forage to achieve this.

Forage’s virtual job simulations are completely free to students, open-access and self-paced allowing students to complete them at a time best-suited to them. Each programme distils the ‘workplace’ into a series of engaging, real-life, self-guided tasks with model answers.

PRIME’s programme provides insight into the legal industry within the UK, including aspects of commercial and criminal law and the various pathways into the profession.

Virtual job simulations mutually benefit students and the legal profession

The programme benefits PRIME, their member firms and, most importantly, the students. For example:

  • PRIME now has wider reach, allowing students from cold spots within the UK to undertake top tier work experience no matter their location, an opportunity which has traditionally only been available to students located in larger cities.
  • Students who lacked confidence to apply for in-person work experience can now start building their knowledge, skills and confidence in a safe space.
  • PRIME can directly communicate with students who have participated in the programme, and encourage those eligible to apply for further work experience with its member firms.
  • PRIME and its member firms can also offer the virtual programme to students undertaking work experience with firms before they start, so students arrive on day one with increased confidence and understanding about what is ahead for their work experience with firms.

Forage is proud to support PRIME’s mission of widening access to the legal profession and positively impacting student’s confidence, aspirations and decision making with respect to future studies and employment. We’re looking forward to working with PRIME to continue to improve socio-economic diversity in the legal profession.

How can you get involved?

PRIME is working with schools around the UK and the Republic of Ireland and its member firms to distribute the free programme to students. If you are interested in joining PRIME or making their programme available to students, you can contact PRIME here.

Please contact Katie here if you are interested in learning more about Forage.

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