Virtually There: Linklaters launches a virtual reality internship

June 26, 2019

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Linklaters’ new ‘virtual internship’ looks to aid social mobility and allow university students to replicate the real work of interns during the vacation scheme.

What does this mean?

The platform is called ‘Inside Sherpa’ and is for UK university students from any degree. It would take roughly six hours to complete and involve tasks such as putting together a pitch to banks of legal advice regarding a fintech acquisition, recording voicemails for clients and creating email updates.

Whilst the ‘interns’ won’t be paid, or their work assessed by Linklaters employees or partners, they will receive video instructions from partners and submit (and self-mark) the work they have done.

What's the big picture effect?

This is the first UK company to engage in such a platform. As such, the move may make the firm more attractive to those who believe their background prevents them from applying to a City law firm, or more generally due to the forwarding thinking nature of the firm.

Linklaters believes this platform is most useful for those who believe they cannot access or apply to City law firms. Fionnghuala Griggs, a graduate recruitment partner at Linklaters, said: “we know that a simple lack of awareness of what life is like at firms like Linklaters is often one of the biggest barriers preventing otherwise strong candidates from applying to join”.

Whilst this ‘virtual internship’ may provide a key look into what an intern may do, the lack of variety of tasks may mean this opportunity doesn’t fulfill its potential. Furthermore, it would by no means be a substitute for an actual vacation scheme, though it may help demystify what those schemes entail. This e-learning platform has already been trialed in Australia by Linklaters and was “extremely successful”, therefore its roll out in the UK could be incredibly beneficial.

It will also be interesting to see if any other firms also launch their own ‘virtual internship’, or something similar. There is a variety of social mobility initiatives for those pursuing legal careers (such as Aspiring Solicitors, Rare Recruitment and The Sutton Trust) but they do not stem from the firms themselves. As such, the need for such initiatives from firms themselves is both needed and useful.

Report written by Harina C

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