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Linklaters announced last week its intention to expand its virtual internship experience programme from the UK to Hong Kong, making the multinational law firm a pioneer in Hong Kong’s legal market. 

The virtual programme, operated through the InsideSherpa platform, allows anyone a chance to experience the type of work Linklaters' employees would do on a vacation scheme or training contract. 

As a key initiative in the firm’s diversity & inclusion strategy, it aims to increase access to opportunities in the firm, and level out information asymmetries that can disproportionately affect people from less advantaged backgrounds.

Participants will receive video instructions from partners and associates, as well as resources to support them in completing work that reflects the day-to-day responsibilities of a commercial lawyer during their training contract. They will also go through a seven-module programme which requires them to complete tasks, including pitching to a client based in mainland China requiring legal advice ahead of a fintech acquisition, conducting legal research and leaving a voicemail for the client regarding the transaction. 

Denise Fung, the graduate recruitment partner of the programme, shares with Human Resources why they decide to run the programme in Hong Kong. 

Why does Linklaters consider now is a good time to launch a new programme?

Following the success of our UK virtual internship experience programme launched last June, we have been working over the last 10 months to expand the programme to Hong Kong. We involved partners, associates, trainees and business team members across the Hong Kong office in developing the content, and are very pleased to be able to launch in Hong Kong now. Summer break is coming for many students, which is a great time for them to think about potential careers, and we hope the InsideSherpa programme will inspire them. 

What are the reasons of going virtual?

This is a key initiative in our firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts. A virtual programme is accessible and scalable in a way that our physical internships are not. With a virtual experience programme, we are able to reach a wider group, and in particular those who, given geographical, social or other barriers, haven’t had an opportunity to learn about a career in commercial law. Our hope is that the experience gained in the virtual programme inspires and empowers students to consider a career at Linklaters.

What role does HR play in the programme other than recruitment?

There is no assessment in the programme, and we do not review the submissions or make hiring decisions based on participants’ input. The programme is designed as a “risk free” way for students to understand what our day-to-day work is like and try out typical trainee tasks. 

Our HR team has been a key stakeholder in the development of the programme, and will be tracking enrolment and feedback so that the programme can be updated and improved.