Lawyer targets teens with new careers programme

Christina Millan

A Liverpool lawyer is set to launch a new programme to encourage Merseyside teenagers to consider a career in law from the age of 13.

Christina Millan, who is an associate and corporate solicitor at law firm O’Connors, based in Old Hall Street, won the ‘Rising Star Award’ at the 2019 Liverpool Law Society Legal Awards.

She was recognised for her work to increase awareness of law as a career among young people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, as well as her corporate expertise.

Her next project – The Legal Step-Up Programme – has received the full support of The Liverpool Law Society.

“There’s a very defined process to enter the legal sector and if you miss the boat in terms of grades and subject choices, you can find yourself excluded from traditional entry routes,” said Christina, who has played a key role in the successful delivery of the Black Lawyers Matter Project at the University of Manchester.

“Career insight days tend to be held for 17- to 18-year-olds, but we need to be focusing on inspiring students from as young as 13 so they can consider the exciting opportunities and careers in law that are out there and – importantly – recognise what they need to be doing now to be successful.

“At that age, there is still an opportunity for young adults to work on their grades, take up extracurricular activities and make informed choices around work experience placements to improve their chances.”

Christina added: “The Legal Step-Up Programme is designed to give them the knowledge and confidence to do that.”

She intends to form a steering group in the Autumn with representatives from a host of organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), the University of Law, local university representatives, students and other law firms.

“It’s exciting to see this dream of mine take shape,” said Christina, who is a graduate of the University of Liverpool.

“From a diversity perspective, BAME candidates only represent approximately 16% of the total population on the roll of solicitors. If the profession wants to be at the cutting edge of business development and in tune with its client base, then it needs to be representative of all demographics of the wider population.

‘My programme is designed to help young people from whatever background, race, gender or orientation to know what they need to be doing now to get ahead of the game.”

She said: “I want Merseyside to be a shining beacon for inclusive law practice and to attract and retain the very best talent from our local schools and youth organisations.”

The Liverpool Law Society has been vocal in its support for The Legal Step-Up Programme. Chief executive Sarah Poblete said: “Christina is a ‘Rising Star’ of the legal profession who impressed our awards’ judges with her commitment to widening participation into the legal sector at a grass roots level – particularly for BAME candidates.

“As a Society we are proud to work positively with the Merseyside education sector and to have supported a number of careers initiatives. The Legal Step-Up Programme will build upon that work and we share Christina’s vision for engaging young people aged 13 and up in the legal sector, which is a critical juncture of their academic career.”