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Early Bird Pathway & Scholarship

Our Early Bird Pathway is supports, develops, and equips young people from low socio-economic backgrounds with the skills they need to achieve their career potential as part of Bird & Bird’s flagship social mobility initiative.

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Early Bird Pioneer

From Year 10 to Year 13, Early Bird Pioneers gain an insight into the legal sector and the full range of careers available within the professional services industry, as well as exposure to the developmental skills needed for a successful career. Early Bird Pioneers receive skills-based and insight workshops, networking opportunities, general support and guidance. They also attend 2-weeks work experience, with the first week at our London office and the second week with a different client organisation, through our collaboration with the Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP) Skills & Insight Programme. We work directly with a small number of schools to recruit our Early Bird Pioneers.

Early Bird Scholarship

As part of this pathway, the Early Bird Scholarship offers a mentoring scheme with our trainees for support and career guidance during your university studies in law, work experience at the firm, tailored workshops and skills sessions, and financial assistance of £7,500 paid in instalments over your time at university.

As an Early Bird Scholar, you will be automatically awarded a place on our Flying Start Programme in your first year, and then mentored on how to apply for our other early career opportunities, such as our Vacation Schemes. We hope that as your knowledge and understanding of the legal world and Bird & Bird develops, you will choose to apply for a training contract with us.

If you want to pursue a successful career in law with mentoring, workshops and skill sessions, and financial assistance whilst at university, apply to our Early Bird Scholarship.

Applying to us

Applications to our Early Bird Scholarship open on Thursday 14 March 2024 and close on Friday 5 July 2024.

We are recruiting Scholars for a September 2024 start. You can apply if you meet the following criteria: currently completing your A-Levels/waiting to receive your A-Level results, starting your first year of a law or law-related degree at university in Autumn 2024, and meet our eligibility criteria.

We operate rolling recruitment, which means we screen applications as they are received, rather than after our deadline. We encourage you to apply as early as possible.

Build your employability skills, search for events and law fairs, and take part in online work experience before applying by visiting our online resources here

Who can apply

To be awarded a place on our Early Bird Scholarship, you must fulfil all of the below eligibility criteria:

  • you must be in Year 13/starting university;
  • you must be attending a state (non-fee paying) school or sixth form college in the UK; 
  • you must be the first generation in your immediate family to attend university; 
  • you must be applying to study Law or a Law-related degree at a UK university (part-time distant learning courses will be considered if circumstances warrant); and
  • you should have achieved at least 5 A grades or 5 Level 7 and above in GCSE, including English and Maths, as well as expected to achieve at least AAB or equivalent at A-Level.

You must also fulfil one or more of the below criteria:

  • you have been or are eligible for free school meals;
  • attend a sixth form college or school where more than 25% of pupils are eligible for free school meals;
  • spent time in local authority care; and/or
  • you are, or have you been, a parent or a registered carer.

To find out if you’re eligible, you can check your school’s details here.

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Chloe Johnson

Chloe Rose Johnson

Early Careers Assistant

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Nasima Ali

Diversity & Inclusion Executive

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Lara Machnicki

Early Careers Manager

Inclusive Recruitment

Inclusivity is integral to us.

From attraction and marketing to recruitment and selection, and HR and development, the Early Careers team is committed to diversity and inclusion, social mobility, and equality. We know an inclusive culture, alongside a diverse workforce, makes us more innovative and agile as a firm. We are keen to create a recruitment process where everyone feels supported to succeed, to ensure that we recruit the top candidates onto our programmes, no matter their background or circumstance. It is also the right thing to do.

Our highlights:

  • To minimise bias, we operate blind screening and blind interviewing, so all identification details and previous assessments are hidden from our assessors and interviewers.
  • To increase support, we offer confidential advice to candidates with a disability, neurodiversity, mental health, and long-term health problems on adjustments at each stage of the recruitment process to ensure they have a barrier-free recruitment experience. If you require adjustments, you can email our Early Careers team.
  • To increase accessibility, we’re recruiting the majority of our candidates online, with online application forms, online Watson-Glaser tests, online video interviews, and (some) virtual assessment centres. Our Flying Start Programme, Virtual Experience Programme and Open Days are entirely online.
  • To increase diversity in underrepresented groups, we introduced a Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) into our recruitment process. Since August 2018, we have used contextual data to help us identify candidates with the greatest potential despite their significant academic, personal or socio-economic disadvantage. We can recognise the achievements of candidates in the context in which they were gained.
  • To increase diversity in the legal professional, we partner with a number of platforms, networks and initiatives to educate and equip aspiring lawyers with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. For example, we work with 10,000 Black InternsAspiring Solicitors, and Vantage.

Sustainability is a core strategic initiative for us – it is vital to our people, our clients, and our planet.

 From paper brochures to tote bags, plastic bottles, and travelling across the country, we recognise the impact of recruitment on the environment, and we’re committed to making a greener way of recruiting. The Early Careers UK team are transforming the way in which they recruit, with sustainability in mind.

Early Careers UK highlights:

  • We are using digital brochures and/or QR codes for people to access our information. You can access all our early career opportunities online, via our social media or website.
  • We no longer travel across the UK to universities to participate in in-person law fairs or events, as part of our sustainability and diversity and inclusion initiative. Instead, we are adopting a hybrid approach by hosting online events and ensuring that any in-person events are accessible by public transport or are hosted at our London office.
  • We are reducing our production of merchandise in Early Careers UK, and anything we do produce will be from a sustainable, ethical source.
  • We are recruiting the majority of our candidates online, with online application forms, online Watson-Glaser tests, online video interviews, and (some) virtual assessment centres. Our Flying Start Programme, Virtual Experience Programme and Open Days are entirely online.
  • We are reducing the amount of meat served at our events and offering more meat-alternatives for vegetarians, vegans, and those with dietary requirements.