An apprentice's perspective: Maya Taylor
Dive In 2018 - The festival for diversity and inclusion in insurance
As proud global partners of this year’s Dive In Festival, and in support of the annual theme of #time4inclusion, we canvassed the views of some of our legal apprentices on life at Kennedys, their careers, and what diversity and inclusion means to them.
Our award-winning UK apprenticeship programme, launched in 2012, sees Kennedys actively recruit from schools and colleges and welcome people to the firm from the age of 18, is something that, according to Partner and Board member Suzanne Liversidge, “allows us to reach people from a much wider range of backgrounds who more accurately represent the diversity of those we serve”.
In the first instalment of our Legal Apprentice interviews we spoke to Maya Taylor, one of our London-based apprentices.
“The idea of doing a legal apprenticeship at Kennedys appealed to me because the firm offers the chance to work and study at the same time,” says Maya, reflecting on why she chose Kennedys to begin her legal career. Instead of choosing to follow the traditional university route, where qualified lawyers stand in front of you teaching the theory of the law, Kennedys provide qualified lawyers as your colleagues, who work alongside you on real cases and provide you with real legal experience.”
Maya, who is part of Kennedys’ September 2017 cohort, works within the firm’s Insurance Division in a team whose practice focus is on product recall and product liability matters. Twelve months after starting her legal apprenticeship in the London office, Maya feels that she is reaping the benefits of first-hand experience and working so closely with her team.
One of the best things about the work I am involved in is that I have the opportunity to work with employees at all levels.
Maya Taylor, Legal Apprentice
Maya says: “My team is made up of partners, senior associates, solicitors and litigation assistants and I have had the opportunity to work with everybody. In my team I focus mainly on product liability, which involves litigation work. I am currently working on small value, fast track claims which often go to trial within a year. This has meant that I have been able to see claims through the entire court process, and has allowed me to develop a full understanding of the litigation involved in fast track claims. This has been incredibly beneficial to my development as an apprentice and has provided valuable experience I would never have gotten at university.”
"When researching where to apply for a legal apprenticeship, Kennedys stood out from the rest as the firm had been named a Training and Recruitment Awards finalist by Law.Careers.net. I also knew that the firm had already had many intakes of apprentices over the previous four to five years, so the scheme was established as well as being award-winning. Coming straight from school, I felt reassured that Kennedys’ apprenticeship scheme had proved to be successful and, as it was not the firm’s first year of hiring apprentices, starting an apprenticeship with Kennedys felt like I was joining the firm as a valued employee rather than as a ‘guinea pig’."
Prior to applying for her apprenticeship, Maya carried out her own research on the schemes available – something she believes has paid off
Since Maya conducted her research, the firm has been awarded the ‘Top Employer - Law’ award at the AllAboutSchoolLeavers Awards in both 2017 and 2018 - reaffirming her view that “Kennedys is an excellent firm to do a legal apprenticeship with”.
As a firm we aim to make a difference for our clients, and each other, every day. Our values are at the core of our distinctive culture. This is something that resonated with Maya during the application process. “One thing that really came across was the idea that Kennedys is an approachable firm. When being interviewed, and in question and answer sessions with employees, it was noticeable how friendly everyone was - from apprentices to partners."
It was clear from day one that Kennedys values its people, no matter their background or what level of the hierarchy they are at. This value is further seen in Kennedys’ global presence, which shows how the firm encourages people of all different races, religions and backgrounds to be a part of Kennedys.
This year marks the start of a two-year campaign, Awareness into Action. After three years of raising awareness of the business case for diversity and inclusion, the global movement now looks to harness the energy of previous years to encourage action throughout the sector.