We caught up with top law firm Bird & Bird to find out more about their Bursary and Pioneer Programmes, which have already assisted many young people on the road to a successful legal career. Keep reading to find out more and get involved!

Could you tell us a bit more about the Bird & Bird Bursary Programme?

The Bird & Bird Bursary Programme was introduced in 2009 and we sponsor 12 students each year. It is designed to be part of the ongoing solution to the issue of under representation of candidates from lower socio-economic backgrounds within the legal profession; the objective of the fund is to address the financial hurdle that often deters students from studying Law at university. As part of the Bursary, students receive funding of £2,500 per year, a laptop, a trainee mentor and a place on our summer vacation scheme in their 2nd year of university.

We have sponsored 27 students through university since the programme was introduced. Since offering Bursary students a place on our Summer Vacation scheme we have offered 6 students a Training Contract; this amounts to half of the Bursary students who have taken part in the vacation scheme.

And what about the Bird & Bird Pioneer Programme, are you able to tell us a little bit more about that?

The Bird & Bird Pioneer Programme was introduced in 2012 and aims to:

  • Provide insight, inspiration and information about careers in the legal profession and wider business world, as well as a chance to learn about and develop the key skills that employers are looking for.
  • Provide targeted support to students over a four year period from Year 10 (age 14/15) to Year 13 (age 17/18).
  • Identify students who would otherwise not have access to such opportunities.
  • Properly prepare students for the decisions they will have to make as they decide what career path to embark on, including the relevance of university education.
  • Provide a framework for continued support during and after the 4 year period.

The Bird & Bird pioneer programme is delivered through three skills-based half-day workshops at our office in Years 10 and 11 and one week’s work experience in Year 12. During their week’s work experience, the students attend one of our clients offices for an afternoon to meet the legal team and others from the business. Once students have completed work experience in Year 12, they are invited to join the Bird & Bird Pioneer Alumni. This involves continued mentoring, supporting the younger students entering the programme and attending annual celebration events.

Overall we have 70 students who have taken or are taking part in the Bird & Bird Pioneer Scheme. We currently have 25 students on our scheme in year 10 and 11; this has increased from the first intake in 2012 by 5 students. We also have 45 students who are now part of our alumni programme; this means that 100% of all students who have taken part in the programme have chosen to continue to stay in touch and attend our Alumni events.


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