What is Bridging the Gap?
For those of you who aren’t in the programme, Bridging the Gap is a mentoring programme, sponsored by IPLS, which is run by the Wellington Young Lawyers’ Committee and the Victoria University Law Students’ Society. It’s now in its fifth year – moving from strength to strength each year.
For the Young Lawyers’ Committee, we felt there was an important opportunity to assist senior law students before they become members of the profession. Bridging the Gap aims to do just that: ‘Bridge the Gap’, so to speak, from being a student to entering the profession and the first years of practice.
What do we do?
Bridging the Gap matches up young lawyers and students as mentors and mentees, which we find is one of the most productive ways to prepare a student for entry into the profession.
We also run events during the year to facilitate more interaction between law students and young lawyers, in all areas of legal practice. Earlier this year we held a session on the ‘Art of Networking’, offering some tips and tricks of the trade.
Last year we introduced a further initiative, Workplace Tours, which we repeated successfully this year. This initiative focuses on exposing students to the range of legal roles outside of the oft advertised career paths at national firms. It was also a great opportunity for students to hear from experienced lawyers, whose own career trajectories vary greatly, and more often than not, have not been linear.
This year we had tours at 13 different workplaces – ranging from government departments and agencies including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Crown Law Office and Pharmac, to small law firms, barristers’ chambers and in-house roles at TradeMe and Xero. Mark Wilton, principal prosecutor for the Police Prosecution Service, was also kind enough to host a tour, incorporating a visit to the local Police station and observation of police prosecutors in the District Court.
How do I get involved?
We call for expressions of interest for mentors and mentees at the beginning of the academic year – during March and April each year. If you want to know a bit more, feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always open to hearing suggestions, ideas and feedback.