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Education & Training

Leicester students swap coursework for casework

Nelsons Mock Tribunal – L-R: Ella Sheppard, George Neville and Anika Zahid (All of Nelsons)

A-level pupils from across Leicester traded the classroom for the courtroom to spend a morning learning about the legal profession and witnessing a ‘live’ mock employment tribunal at Nelsons’ Leicester office.

The event, which took place on Thursday, 30 January, was jointly run alongside the Leicestershire Education Business Company (LEBC). The independent charity was set up in 1992 to create a one stop shop for employers, schools and colleges with the aim of helping young people to prepare for working life.

Nelsons welcomed pupils from Rawlins Academy, Leicester High School for Girls, and St Paul’s Catholic School as part of the initiative. The group was given an introduction to the law firm, before they witnessed a mock tribunal. The day finished with a 20-minute Q&A session with Nelsons’ HR team and a recently qualified solicitor.

Ella Sheppard, Solicitor in the Employment Law Team at Nelsons who played the role of the judge in the tribunal and delivered the final conclusion, organised the event in conjunction with LEBC. Ella said: “A career in law is both intellectually challenging and personally fulfilling, while also being very rewarding as we empower our clients. We give them a voice, fight for them and help them seek justice as we steer them through the complex legal issues they face.

“With this in mind, it was fantastic to be able to open our doors to students and showcase the abundance of career opportunities that are available in the legal profession. Pupils were given the opportunity to watch a case from start to finish – including seeing a witness give evidence and be cross-examined by the opposing solicitor. We hosted the event in our Leicester office in order to provide an insight into the working world for the students, some of whom hadn’t been in an office environment before.

“It was a great event, and it was inspiring to see that, of those students who attended, every single one of them raised their hands and expressed an interest in the legal profession.”

The most recent review of Leicester and Leicestershire by the Department for Education found that residents in the city (28.8%) and county (34.5%) are less likely to have a higher-level qualification compared to the national average (37.1%) – meaning employment engagement events are vital when it comes to raising aspirations.

Grace Ladkin and Imogen Fowler, the LEBC school events team, said: “We wanted to assist in organising the event as it really resonated with the work that we do here at LEBC. It helps to raise aspirations as the students can see a real-life workplace and meet law professionals to inspire them to reach their goals. It was really generous of Nelsons to give up their time to meet the students who attended the event, and the experience will continue to benefit them in the coming months and years as they go on to study law.”

For more information on Nelsons, please visit: www.nelsonslaw.co.uk.