We feel it is only natural that the legal profession should reflect the composition of society at large. When we started the Diversity Project in 2002 this was certainly not the case – there were relatively few working lawyers with a foreign background.
An integrated legal profession can only be achieved if more people with foreign backgrounds apply to study law at undergraduate level throughout the country. To motivate young people to study at university generally, and to study law in particular, Vinge decided to concentrate on upper secondary schools that have a high percentage of students with a foreign background.
By meeting upper secondary students in their own environment, our aim was to encourage them to take steps towards working in a profession that may not have felt wholly natural to them. Our key aim with the Diversity Project was therefore to motivate students by introducing them to the full range of possibilities the legal profession has to offer.
This work to inspire students to go into higher education and the legal profession has continued. We still co operate with three upper secondary schools: St. Botvids Gymnasium and Kungsholmens västra gymnasium in Stockholm, Angeredsgymnasiet in Gothenburg and Malmö Borgarskola.
All students at these schools are offered a unique package including lectures and presentations, scholarships, and the possibility to work as a summer trainee at Vinge.
Students can also take part in Vinge’s themed days, when they accompany our lawyers on study visits to court, the prosecution service, large companies and different Vinge offices. The themed days are highly appreciated and are an excellent way to give
students an insight into the everyday life of a lawyer, while also showing them the wide range of areas a lawyer can work in.
Every academic year we award up to 12 scholarships to students who have been accepted onto a university law programme, have made notable improvements in their studies, or have shown great commitment and moral courage.
The Diversity Project has exceeded our expectations. We are particularly proud of our scholarship students, who have progressed well in their law programmes and have achieved excellent results. They are already great role models for other young people.
The Diversity Project has also had some other positive effects. Angeredsgymnasiet in Gothenburg, for example, has started an upper secondary education programme focusing on law as a direct result of its collaboration with Vinge. Our lawyers play an active part in the teaching, and help the school by advising on how to develop the curriculum. Encouraged by the students’ positive response and the efforts of our scholarship students across Sweden, we are continuing with our focus on upper secondary schools.
In 2012, we conducted an evaluation of the Diversity Project to coincide with the Project’s tenth anniversary.