The Smart Start Experience, Allen & Overy’s award-winning work experience scheme, will be launched in India on 8 March.
The programme, which aims to give young people from disadvantaged backgrounds a real insight into the world of business, will be held in collaboration with the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) project in India. IDIA identifies candidates with potential from marginalised and under-represented backgrounds and aims to introduce them to law as a career option.
IDIA has already successfully created collaborative local networks with law schools, law firms and NGOs. Once promising students are identified and taken on as IDIA scholars, volunteers train them for the Common Law Admission Test process. This support is continued on admission to law school, where they are allocated mentors to guide and support them in honing their talents and abilities.
Approximately 20 IDIA scholars will attend the Smart Start programme, which will be hosted on campus by the National Law University in Delhi. They will spend two days with Allen & Overy lawyers, local university professors and IDIA volunteers refining business and soft skills including presentation technique, interview style and persuasive writing.
Jonathan Brayne, partner at Allen & Overy, commented: “We believe that high quality work experience is a vital first step on the career ladder and a valuable educational experience, so we’re excited about bringing the Smart Start scheme to India for the first time. Partnering with IDIA means that we are building on some of the excellent work that is already being done to empower these students and the communities that they belong to; we’re proud to be part of this effort.”
Swati Agrawal, Associate Director at IDIA, added: “Our mission is to make the legal profession in India more diverse and inclusive. Through our robust scholar development project called CHAMPS (Creative Holistic Altruistic Maverick Problem Solvers) project, we ensure that our scholars are well-placed for the competitive legal profession after law school. We are very excited about the opportunity for IDIA scholars to hone their professional skills through Allen and Overy’s leading Smart Start Experience. It is a valuable experience for our scholars and would help achieve the long-term mission of a more inclusive legal profession.”