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In this article, I explain why I think BaSE Training is so important from a trainee perspective, and what inspired me to take on the role of Trainee Solicitor Representative on the HL BaSE Training committee.
"I firmly believe in the power of social enterprises. HL BaSE is a way not only to facilitate but to drive the development of social enterprises, as well as championing the cause of responsible, sustainable corporate behaviour. In this way we can go at least some way to solving some major problems faced by society at present. I could not possibly turn down the opportunity to contribute to such an ambitious, creative and revolutionary project."
The importance of BaSE Training
On a general level, HL BaSE aims to marry the logistical and intellectual power of a large law firm such as Hogan Lovells with businesses and social enterprises in need of legal assistance. HL BaSE has three key parts – BaSE Legal (providing legal advice to social enterprise clients), BaSE Training (a mini-MBA training programme for junior lawyers) and BaSE Catalyst (involving our clients in our social enterprise practice). The benefits of BaSE are both introspective and outward-looking: introspective because it gives Hogan Lovells' employees (and, for BaSE Training, in particular trainees) the opportunity to take on responsibility and to develop the skills necessary to become a successful solicitor; and outward-looking because of the huge difference that our help can make to the BaSE clients. In fact, in the past three years Hogan Lovells has supported 140 social enterprises and has contributed to the creation of 65 jobs. But it is the introspective benefits which I think are often overlooked, particularly for trainees.
The role of HL trainees
Trainees engage in HL BaSE from the very start of their training contract. In the first two weeks at the firm, trainees attend BaSE Training - a two-day training session that is also attended by lawyers from our offices in Continental Europe and by representatives from some of the firm's major clients. After this training, they are allocated a social enterprise in a supervised team which becomes their client. The trainees listen to the social enterprise's legal issues and see the matter through from engagement to conclusion.
I found the BaSE Training programme to be intellectually stimulating and a great challenge. I experienced a far greater degree of client exposure and corresponding responsibility than I otherwise would have as a trainee. The challenge of fulfilling the social enterprises' need for financial, societal and environmental sustainability is a difficult but rewarding task.
Why I took on the role
I took on the role of being the trainee representative on the BaSE Training committee because I believe in what it aims to do.
HL BaSE manifests recognition of the ever-shifting views regarding the role of corporations and their employees in the world. Increasingly we are seeing our clients attribute importance to their impact on the world; therefore, as their legal representatives, it is important that we mirror this in what we do. It is a change in perspective from the traditional corporation/charity divide – there can be mutual symbiosis between the aims of business and social benefits.