Supporting diversity in the legal profession

From Government Legal Profession Diversity Summer Scheme to GLD trainee contract, Rachel shares her experience

When researching firms during my first year of university, I remember feeling I would never find somewhere I fit in. It felt hard to relate to many of the people I met at networking events – how could a single mum from a low-income background compete with others who seemed so perfectly polished?

Before I started my degree, I had an idea of what I wanted to do as a lawyer. I hoped my work would positively impact people and society, but many sectors and practice areas I learned about seemed far removed from my everyday reality. I wanted to work on matters that affect everyone on a daily basis and to use my skills and experience to effect genuine change for ordinary people like me.

I heard about the Government Legal Profession Diversity Summer Scheme through a website that includes information about legal careers. After doing basic research on GLD, I knew I needed to attend. In fact, I knew before I’d even participated in the scheme that this was where I wanted to work.

I found the speakers really relatable, honest, and inspiring. I was excited to discover that many people from ordinary backgrounds had gone on to work in senior roles at GLD, and I came away feeling as though my personal experiences and background would be welcomed and seen as an asset. One talk really inspired me. The speaker openly spoke about their struggles and determination to succeed in getting to where they wanted to be, which resonated with me and many others who have not had a traditional route into law.

Additionally, Susanna McGibbon, Treasury Solicitor and GLD’s Permanent Secretary’s talk further stressed the supportive nature of GLD’s culture, leaving me feeling that my background would not be a barrier to fulfilling my potential.

The scheme truly reflected GLD’s commitment to inclusion, even down to choosing to conduct it online so that travel costs and home location were not a barrier to attending.

The scheme surpassed my expectations and made me even more determined to be offered a training contract. I was also paired with a buddy who was so helpful throughout the application process and was a great source of support. I found the process fair and transparent, reinforcing the message I had gained from the scheme that GLD takes diversity and inclusion seriously.

I felt more confident knowing that I would not be judged on where I had gone to school and university and that I had struggled to find legal work experience without any contacts in the industry. I was able to demonstrate my skills through my previous jobs, hobbies, and home life, and knowing about the required skills in advance de-mystified the process.

Consequently, I was extremely pleased and proud to be offered a training contract with GLD commencing in September 2024. In all, I am very grateful for the opportunity I have been given and look forward to seeing where it will take me.

Government Legal Department