Flexible work experience: Nplaw

Nplaw is a Norfolk-based public sector shared legal service, and offers final year law students and graduates one week of work experience. Fiona Anthony, practice and professional development manager, details the challenges they faced, the impact made, and advice for other organisations.
A man and two women in a lecture theatre.
Image: © nplaw/Fiona Anthony


Nplaw is a public sector shared legal service, acting for several local authorities in Norfolk and hosted by Norfolk County Council. It undertakes a wide range of work including advice and advocacy relating to child protection, adult social care, contracts and commercial work, planning and property, and litigation.

The experience offered

Nplaw’s work experience is organised in conjunction with Lawyers in Local Government (LLG). LLG’s work experience scheme runs annually for one week in July for students in their final year of university or graduates wanting to find out more about legal careers in local government.

Participants spend a morning with a local authority legal department, either in person or remotely. Afternoons are spent remotely joining the other participants on the scheme to take part in workshops and seminars on different topics. The scheme is promoted through newsletters, direct mailings, and adverts within law schools.

For students hosted by Nplaw, Nplaw’s Practice and Professional Development Manager co-ordinates the week, delivering presentations on local authority practice, arranging speakers from different work areas and setting varied and interesting tasks for the students based on real-life trainee work.

Nplaw’s trainees and apprentice solicitors deliver some sessions, which gives them experience of leading small group discussions, being on a speaker panel and reflecting on their own career progress.


Over 40 local authorities and 150 students have been involved since the scheme started in 2021.

A number of students have accepted solicitor training contracts within local authorities as a result of their involvement in the scheme. This is a tangible demonstration of the scheme’s positive impact, providing students with valuable career opportunities.

D&I statistical data was collated, and work experience week is being considered alongside EDI workstreams more broadly.


There have been challenges in ensuring a variety of experiences and speakers for students, coordinating with local authorities and student attendance.

Proactive mitigation strategies, including dedicated mentors for students providing support, and communicating attendance expectations have helped to address this.

It does also take time and thought to prepare an interesting and varied programme of talks and tasks.

Feedback from participants

“The valuable opportunity to undertake tasks in a wide range of areas that went beyond my undergraduate study of Law allowed me to see what ‘Law in real life’ is like, and how it affects local communities.

I was also able to understand how paths into the legal profession can differ and how any previous experiences I had could be used to demonstrate the skills necessary for a future career.”


Work experience benefits both the firm and students. There are real benefits to involving trainees, which builds up their skills and confidence

It requires advance planning and someone available to co-ordinate the week. Building in flexibility enables you to manage issues or to go off-programme and follow the interests of participants.

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