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30 November, 2006

Lawyers in schools project taking off in schools around UK

After a successful re-launch in July, the Citizenship Foundation’s Twinning Scheme is now taking place in a number of schools both across London and nationally.

Developed to increase young people’s awareness and understanding of the law and legal issues, the scheme twins lawyers and schools for a programme of workshops facilitated by trainee or qualified solicitors.

Our founding law firms, Linklaters and Slaughter and May have now been joined by Thring Townsend, Allen & Overy, Mallesons and Addleshaw Goddard, with in house lawyers from Ernst & Young, Reckitt Benckiser and Genworth Financial also taking part. Many more law firms are requesting further information about the project.

Participating schools include:

• Skinners’ Company’s School for Girls, Hackney

• Swanlea School, Tower Hamlets

• Islington Green School, Islington

• Dorcan Technology College, Swindon

• Bethnal Green Technology College, Tower Hamlets

• City of London Academy, Southwark

• Baylis Court School, Slough

• St Michael’s RC High School, Moston, Manchester

The programme provides an opportunity for schools to get trained professionals into the classroom and helps raise teachers’ and students’ awareness of a range of legal issues such as rights and responsibilities, consumer law, employment law, human rights, police powers, and youth justice.

A key aim of the project is to illustrate to young people how legal issues relate to everyday life and expose students to the legal profession, especially those who may not otherwise be exposed to it.

Sam Nicholson, Project Manager for the programme said “The amount of interest shown by a number of top law firms is fantastic, and means that a much wider range of schools and of young people can take part in the scheme and benefit from having legal professionals in their classroom. Students are always really engaged during the sessions and can’t wait for the lawyers’ next visit. By opening up this scheme to more law firms and lawyers across the UK, we hope to create a much stronger partnership between the legal profession and schools.”

Chloe Parker a teacher from Islington Green School who has been involved with the scheme said “It’s a really simple process for schools to set up and my pupils have got so much out of it. The legal aspect of the citizenship curriculum is a challenging area and a lot of our teachers don’t feel confident teaching it, so it’s great getting professionals into the classroom, the pupils have found it really interesting having professionals teach them that area of the course and have felt really privileged that they have had top city lawyers in their school.”

Emma Shaw at Allen & Overy added:"We are very excited about introducing this new scheme to our pro bono and community affairs programme. The Twinning Scheme enables us to strengthen our relationship with our partner school, Bethnal Green Technology College in Tower Hamlets by helping them deliver their citizenship classes and at the same time providing an opportunity for our future trainees to work with our current trainees.

"Our future trainees are currently studying at the College of Law and through participation will gain a sense of the importance of their legal expertise in the voluntary sector . We hope they will be inspired to engage in and develop our pro bono culture when they join A&O in the coming year."

Anyone interested in hearing more about the scheme, or who would like to explore the possibility of a more specifically tailored package (supported with training by Citizenship Foundation staff) please contact Sam Nicholson sam.nicholson@citizenshipfoundation.org.uk Tel:020 7566 5038.

Further information

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