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Early Bird Programme & Scholarship

Our Early Bird Programme is to support, develop and equip 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.

You’ll follow a 7-year programme of skill-based and insight workshops, receive networking opportunities, general support and guidance, and invitations to our firm-wide events. You’ll begin as an Early Bird Pioneer and finish as an Early Bird Alumni. You also have the opportunity to progress as an Early Bird Scholar.

Early Bird Pioneer

From Year 10 to Year 13, you’ll be an Early Bird Pioneer. This early stage of the programme is designed to help you gain an insight into the legal sector and the full range of careers available within the professional services industry, as well as prepare you with the relevant developmental skills for a successful career. You’ll receive skills-based and insight workshops, networking opportunities, general support and guidance. You’ll 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.

At the end of Year 13, you can:

  1. Apply for an Early Bird Scholarship to receive Financial Assistance for 3 years, a trainee mentor, and a programme of further skill-based workshops and events. You’re only eligible if you intend to do a university law degree and meet the Scholarship criteria. If you don’t meet these criteria, or are unsuccessful, you’ll still continue to be invited to events, receive firm updates, and be updated with early career opportunities for 3 years an Early Bird Alumni.
  2. Commence a law or non-law degree, undertake an apprenticeship, or embark on a school-leaver role. You’ll continue to be invited to events, receive firm updates, and be updated with early career opportunities for 3 years as an Early Bird Alumni.

 

Early Bird Pioneer training route diagram

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Early Bird Scholarship

Our Early Bird Scholarship is to support, develop and equip young people from low socio-economic backgrounds with the skills they need to achieve their full career potential as part of Bird & Bird’s flagship social mobility initiative. Our Scholarship offers a mentoring scheme with our trainees for support and career guidance during your university studies in law; work experience; workshops and sessions from our Early Careers and Diversity & Inclusion teams; and Financial Assistance paid in instalments over your time at university.

As an Early Bird Scholar, you’ll be mentored on how to apply for our other early career opportunities, including the Flying Start Programme and Vacation Schemes, with the aim of becoming a Trainee Solicitor at Bird & Bird.

Our Scholarship is open to all eligible Year 13 students, not just Early Bird Pioneers. 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 Scholarship.


Applying to us

Applications to our Early Bird Scholarship open on Monday 20 March 2023 and close on Friday 28 July 2023 at midnight.

The application process includes an online application form and an in-person assessment centre. Once you have applied, you’ll receive a confirmation of your received application form. You’ll be notified if your application has been unsuccessful or receive an email regarding the next stage of the application at each stage.

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

Find out more 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;
  • 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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Contacts

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Lara Machnicki

Early Careers Manager UK

Jess Kaye

Jess Kaye

Head of Diversity, Inclusion & CR UK

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Nasima Ali

Diversity & Inclusion Executive UK

Inclusive Recruitment

Inclusivity is integral to us

We know an inclusive culture, alongside a diverse workforce, makes us more innovative and agile. 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’s also the right thing to do.

Early Careers UK 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 and adjustments to disabled and neurodiverse candidates 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 the Rare Recruitment Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) into our recruitment process. Since August 2018, we’ve 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 Interns , Aspiring Solicitors, Forage.
Sustainability

Sustainability is a core strategic initiative for us – it’s 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’re 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’re 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’re reducing our production of merchandise in Early Careers UK, and anything we do produce will be from a sustainable, ethical source.
  • 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.
  • We’re reducing the amount of meat served at our events and offering more meat-alternatives for vegetarians, vegans, and those with dietary requirements.
  • You can read more about our firmwide sustainability programme, including our commitment to set science-based net zero targets here