Partnerships for Cultural Change: Reverse Mentoring in higher education and the legal profession
- Start date: 1 October 2022
- Funder: Michael Beverley Innovation Fund
- Primary investigator: Rachael O'Connor
Rachael O’Connor has recently embarked on a collaborative research venture with LawCare (mental health charity for the legal profession – bio below), funded by the Michael Beverley Innovation scheme at the University of Leeds.
The project will see aspiring law students and current trainees/junior lawyers from a range of minoritised and under-represented backgrounds mentoring those responsible for trainee recruitment and organisational wellbeing within participant law firms. This will be one of the first research projects to empirically explore the impact of reverse mentoring in this context.
A key aim of the pilot project is to spark meaningful conversation in the profession around the connections between diversity, inclusion and wellbeing. We intend its outcomes to support the development of training for junior lawyers to better embed positive wellness and inclusion practices, addressing challenges such as turnover rates, lawyers’ mental health and supporting firms to develop their ‘USP’ for trainees and future employees. We also intend for the pilot project to impact the sector beyond the firms involved through the publication of our research findings and a reverse mentoring toolkit for the profession.
In November and December 2022, Rachael ran a series of roundtables with students, junior lawyers and senior leaders in the profession to discuss issues relating to wellbeing, inclusion and reverse mentoring in order to further develop the project design.