Igniting a Spark for the law with students

Now in its fourth year, Allens Spark is a work experience program providing secondary school students with insights into our firm, the legal profession and the steps to becoming a lawyer.

Allens Spark (Spark) aims to provide students, subject to varying degrees of social or other disadvantage (including new migrant, refugee and Indigenous students) with exposure to a commercial law firm. Through work experience and related initiatives, Spark seeks to develop students' career aspirations while equipping them with the basic tools necessary to succeed in the modern professional workplace.

During each Spark work experience program, Allens volunteers (both legal and non-legal) assist students' professional development through a series of activities designed to develop core professional competencies and practical skills, as well as increase students’ knowledge of what it's like to work at a large commercial law firm like Allens.

'When we originally designed Spark, the idea was to create a structured, 'best practice' work experience program. By ensuring each activity aligns to the Australian Curriculum for Work Studies, students (and our partner schools) can be confident they're getting the learning experiences they need,' said Associate (and former Teach For America teacher) Adam Percy.

Students participate in activities such as developing their personal 'elevator pitch', preparing (and getting feedback on) a CV, case law and news research tasks, mock interviews and court visits.

Sydney expansion

In 2019, Spark expanded from its Melbourne origins and launched in Allens' Sydney office. Our partner school, Liverpool Girls High School, attended a Spark morning tea and 'speed mentoring' session in May. The event concluded with a tour of the Sydney offices, so students could catch a glimpse of what day-to-day life at Allens looks like.

'Our students were very excited about going into the city and to a prestigious law firm, to find out about the career options the law provides to people from similar backgrounds. The students left the experience with an awareness of different pathways into the law and now feel that nothing should be a barrier to pursuing their dreams. Thank you to the Allens team for a wonderful experience,' said Mira Dokmanovic, Careers Advisor at Liverpool Girls High School.

What the students said

Students were asked to complete a feedback form, at the end of the day. Below are some of their responses:

  • 'The mentors were really helpful and honest, and provided us with a real sense of what studying, and practising, the law is really like.'
  • 'I enjoyed it a lot. Having one-on-one chats with the three types of mentors (law students, junior lawyers and corporate support staff) was very interesting and helped me understand that there are so many different places the law can take you.'
  • 'The event helped me gain a sense of purpose. It allowed for me to ask – and 'nit-pick' – the mentors about their career journeys, which gave me perspective on my own.'

The visit to Allens' Sydney office provided students with the opportunity to explore a corporate legal environment, key to allowing them to make well-informed choices about their future careers.

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