How to: Build on being a values-based business
Global law firm DLA Piper have launched Head Start in New Zealand, a global social mobility initiative that improves access to, and increases diversity within the legal profession. The Head Start programme supports talented young people who face barriers to entering the legal profession, offering internships, mentoring, and networking opportunities to help them realise their potential.
Partnering with The Prince’s Trust New Zealand, an organisation backing young New Zealanders to be active participants in their communities and our economy, has enabled DLA Piper to create a bespoke iteration of Head Start, focussing on both the needs and strengths of young New Zealanders.
In its inaugural year Head Start NZ has chosen two young women from Auckland Girls’ Grammar, Jane Fasavalu and Nancy Vuni. Jane and Nancy will be supported throughout their school and undergraduate study for up to five years. They will benefit from tandem mentoring, paid work experience and goal setting support.
“At DLA Piper we are committed to levelling up law”, says partner Laura Scampion. “We are a values-driven firm that is deeply committed to diversity and inclusion. This includes social mobility initiatives. Our aim through Head Start NZ (and other global initiatives like our Global Scholarships Programme) is to contribute to greater diversity in the business of law and to make sure we reflect the communities we operate in.”
Anya Satyanand, CEO of The Prince’s Trust New Zealand, says there are good synergies here – “DLA Piper and The Prince’s Trust share core commonalities: we’re globally connected, values-driven organisations, grounded in our local contexts. This has allowed us to work together well on Head Start NZ.”
A cornerstone of the programme is long-term mentoring. Jane and Nancy will be supported by two mentors each, partners Misha Henaghan and Alicia Murray, Head of IT Natasha Wilson, and NZ COO Joanna Simon. There is also additional support for the students from a buddy network of DLA Piper team members closer in age to the students. They will help to build and strengthen the primary connection between mentors and mentees, and will support the mentees to navigate the culture of DLA Piper as a workplace.
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