Diversity, equity and inclusion pipeline programmes

The firm teaches you key skills: attention to detail and how to work alongside partners in a commercial setting.

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As a firm, we are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and actively encourage all our people to reach their full career potential by being their true selves. Our vision is to be the most human law firm, creating an inspirational culture where everyone feels motivated, valued and empowered.

Our initiatives demonstrate a willingness to innovate, push boundaries and find ways to have as big an impact on DE&I as possible.

EMPower programme

As part of our wider commitment to increasing the representation of Black heritage and ethnic minority individuals in the legal sector, we launched our EMpower programme in spring 2022. The programme provides a unique opportunity for students to gain invaluable insight into the firm, develop skills relevant for a career in law and build relationships with lawyers which will continue once the scheme has finished through our mentoring programme. It has been tremendously successful, resulting in many vacation scheme placements and training contract offers with the firm.  

About the programme
The programme is aimed at those from Black heritage or ethnic minority backgrounds who do not feel ready to participate in a vacation scheme, and would appreciate further insight and experience in advance. 

The four-day programme includes:

  • divisional/practice area talks;
  • commercial awareness insights;
  • work shadowing;
  • panel sessions and networking opportunities with employees at all levels, from trainees through to our CEO;
  • skills sessions, including how to network and our bespoke mock trial;
  • careers advice such as navigating routes to qualification, preparing for applications and assessment centres;
  • on the final day of the programme, you will participate in our vacation scheme assessment centre where the best candidates will have the opportunity to secure the first places on our vacation scheme for the following year;
  • a Penningtons Manches Cooper mentor who will continue to give you guidance and support for 12 months once the programme has ended, with the option for continued informal mentoring afterwards.

This year’s programme will run from 2 - 5 April 2024 in our London office and you must be available on all of these dates to attend.  

The programme will be paid to ensure travel and accommodation expenses can be covered, and lunch vouchers are provided for all participants.

Deadline for applications has passed (was 3 January 2024)

EMpower criteria
The following criteria apply for candidates:

  • from a Black heritage or ethnic minority background;
  • law undergraduate, penultimate year or final year non-law undergraduate, or up to two-year post-graduate;
  • no minimum A-level grade requirements;
  • have, or be on track for a 2:1 degree in any degree discipline;
  • committed to a career in law;
  • a great team player;
  • exceptional communication skills.

We understand that extenuating circumstances can occur during studies and therefore if you do not meet these criteria and feel that your grades are not a true indicator of your abilities, please include some context within your application and this will be considered.

A-level work experience programme

We are signatories of the PRIME commitment, which encourages meaningful work experience opportunities for students from low-income backgrounds in law firms across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

In support of this, we no longer accept ad hoc work experience students; all students must apply through one of our pipeline programmes.

About the programme
Aimed at students studying in years 12 and 13, our five-day programme will introduce you to solicitors and central team professionals at our firm, who will give you an overview of the work they do. There will be hands-on interactive sessions looking at real world issues and developing the skills required to help our clients tackle them. There will also be skills workshops to help your own personal development, from teambuilding to marketing and networking skills.

But that’s not all! You will also get a chance to understand the different routes into the legal profession and we will run a CV workshop to give you some pointers about how to help you stand out when applying for jobs or university.

This year’s programme will run from 15 - 19 July 2024 in our London office and you must be available on all of these dates to attend. Students must be within a commutable distance to the London office.

Travel expenses are covered in advance and lunch is provided for all participants.

A-level criteria
The following criteria apply for candidates:

  • you must be studying towards your A-levels - year 12 or 13 (England and Wales) or S6 (Scotland);
  • you are interested in a career in law (although it is not necessary to want to study law);
  • you are attending, and have always attended, a state-funded, non-fee-paying school/college.

You must also meet one or more of the following:

  • you grew up in a household where no parent or guardian attended university;
  • you are currently in receipt of, or have previously received, free school meals, pupil premium, Education Maintenance Allowance, and/or 16 to 19 bursary;
  • you have been, or are currently, in local authority care;
  • you are, or have been, a full-time or part-time carer;
  • you came to the UK as a refugee or asylum seeker;
  • you are attending a state school or college with:
    a) below average A-Level or higher point score; and/or
    b) low rate of progression to higher education;
    (PRIME Work Experience School Eligibility Criteria)
  • you grew up in a household where the occupation of the main earner is categorised as a routine or manual occupation. For further details please click here.

Note: if you meet the local authority care criteria, you do not need to meet any other criteria.  

Priority will be given to individuals who have not had similar work experience in a professional services firm or as part of a structured programme.

Deadline for applications: 19 April 2024 - apply here

What our participants said:
‘Out of all the law firms I have done work experience at, none have come close to the efforts that this team have put in. The experience made me re-evaluate what values to look for in a firm, instead of being economically driven. Thank you for the hard work because you have sold Penningtons Manches Cooper as an amazing employer. I will consider returning to the firm as a graduate.’

‘It widened my knowledge within areas that I was previously unaware of and the practical career-focused skills will help me to make decisions about the future. I was also able to connect with some amazing people.’

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP