Reading: University and law firm partnership reaches 400th student milestone

A tie-up between a leading Reading law firm and the town’s university law school has helped its 400th student learn negotiating skills vital for their future careers.

The partnership between Boyes Turner and the University of Reading, now in its 10th year, has seen a team of solicitors from the law firm deliver training sessions to 40 students each year in October before the undergraduates then prepare for a competition based on the skills learnt, working in teams of two.

The lawyers then return to judge the Law School’s negotiation competition, with the top two teams all receiving a work placement at Boyes Turner, as well as representing the University in a national negotiation competition run by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution.

In all, 400 students have received training to help their careers through the programme since it began in 2009, with 40 being offered work placements at the law firm and five going on to receive training contracts with Boyes Turner, including one student who began her career at the specialist tech law firm earlier this year.

The winning teams from Reading’s law school have also gone on to reach the final of the national negotiation competition four times, finishing in the top three on a trio of occasions.

Alison Bisset, associate professor in international human rights law and director of enterprise at Reading’s School of Law, said: “It is a fantastic relationship. We couldn’t have expected it to be as successful as it has been and we’re delighted with how it has worked out.

“For five students to have gone on to get training contracts is a huge achievement. All 400 students have gained skills which will be essential across all sorts of areas of law, as well as boosting their communication and team-working abilities.

“It shows the importance of building links between the University and the local business community and the great opportunities there are with businesses in the Thames Valley.”

Chris Dobson, a senior associate solicitor in corporate and commercial at Boyes Turner and one of the team running the training sessions, said: “Negotiation is a key skill for anyone entering the legal profession and all the students have learnt some valuable experience through this partnership.

“It’s important for us to work with a local law school and other organisations in the Thames Valley to ensure we play our part in a successful business community. The relationship with the university has really worked for everyone and the results speak for themselves.

“We’re looking forward to going back in January to see what the students have produced in this year’s competition and to continuing this partnership for many years to come.”

The quintet of former Reading law school students who have gone on to pursue careers with Boyes Turner include Annabel Barons, who started her training contract with the firm just a few weeks ago, and Rachael Brenchley, who recently completed her training contracts, qualified and now works in Boyes Turner’s corporate team.

Harriet Brooker, Emily Hartland and Helen Burnell also began their careers and qualified at Boyes Turner before subsequently moving onto other roles elsewhere.