Global architecture and design firm Gensler partners with European law firm Fieldfisher to provide paid summer internships for students from Queen Mary University of London with disabilities or long-term conditions.
The Gensler Diverse Legal Launchpad Internship programme, now in its second year, aims to provide young people from underrepresented backgrounds a route into law, with a focus this year on those with disabilities.
In July, as part of Gensler’s four-week, full-time, paid internship within its Legal Studio, Gensler London will welcome two disabled students for three weeks where they will spend time learning how to review and assess design related appointments and scenarios, attending construction sites, meeting its design studios, and shadowing Gensler’s counsels during negotiations and meetings.
The students will also be given the opportunity to spend a week at Fieldfisher’s offices for a series of workshops led by its Employment, Pensions, Immigration and Compliance (EPIC) team.
Gensler believes in bringing people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, abilities, and points of view together to spark innovation and create a more representative workforce.
Gensler UK recently became a Disability Confident Committed employer, which means that it is committed to supporting a scheme focused on creating a movement of change by encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain, and develop disabled talent.
Fieldfisher shares similar values and is committed to widening access to law for people from underrepresented groups, including disabled people.
In July 2021, Fieldfisher launched Discover, a disability network within the firm that aims to remove barriers for disabled colleagues and clients.
The network is led by Millie Hawes, a disability rights activist and Head of Just Purpose, Fieldfisher’s corporate responsibility programme.
Both Gensler and Fieldfisher share the belief that by taking clear, positive action, organisations have the opportunity to change the lives of aspiring lawyers while learning more about their own disability narratives.
Ranjit Dhindsa, Fieldfisher’s Birmingham Office Leader and Head of EPIC said:
“We are thrilled to be working with Gensler on this hugely beneficial project, designed to widen access to the legal profession while also opening the eyes of law firms and other businesses to deep pools of talent that have historically been missed by some organisations.
“Gensler is a fantastic, forward-thinking business and we are looking forward to collaborating with them on providing the most beneficial insights into our roles as lawyers for our interns and learn how we can support their objectives and ambitions.”
Commenting on the internship programme, Adam Allegri, Senior International Counsel at Gensler UK said:
“We have teamed up with Fieldfisher to create a unique experience for our interns. This first-hand experience, guidance, and mentoring will be a great stepping-stone as they prepare for their future legal career.
“Both of our interns are students at Queen Mary University London, which is about a mile from our office, and is a university we feel passionately connected to in terms of local community. We are proud to have worked closely with the leaders of QMUL to build this programme for their students.”
“We wanted to pair our Disability Confident Committed employer status with our Legal Studio’s annual internship focus of seeking to support those who face barriers to getting into the legal profession.”