Matheson is delighted to announce that, building on its initial post-launch success, the Matheson Virtual Experience Programme (VEP) has now been integrated into student modules and coursework in a number of third-level colleges including; NUI Galway (NUIG); University of Limerick (UL) and; Maynooth University (MU).
Through these integrations, over 200 students are currently completing the programme which will account for between 5% and 50% of their final grade, depending on the university.
The Matheson Virtual Experience Programme, developed in association with legal technology firm Forage, gives participants practical legal work experience. Each participant completes a variety of tasks during which they gain legal analytical skills, develop a knowledge of the legal industry and learn essential legal communications, research and drafting skills.
Highlights of the VEP include;
- No formal application process;
- Free for second-level students, third-level undergraduates or graduates of any discipline;
- Accessible online from anywhere in the world;
- Offers practical work experience.
Since its launch last year, Matheson’s Virtual Experience Programme has already reached 1,765 participants around the world and has received an average rating of 4.9 out of 5, one of the highest on the Forage platform. As well as being in place in NUIG, UL and MU, Matheson plans to work with other universities in the near future.
Nicola White, Director of Learning and Development at Matheson said “Matheson’s Virtual Experience Programme is designed to help bridge the gap between formal legal education and legal practice in a way that’s innovative and inclusive for all students. In association with Forage, and to build on its initial success, we identified a unique opportunity to strengthen our relationships with universities across the country and further cement our position as the law firm of choice for law students.”
“By integrating the VEP into students’ coursework and including it as part of one of their modules, we have combined people, processes and technology to provide a customised digital experience for hundreds of students across Ireland. The benefits to the students are evident. In an increasingly digitalised world, it is an excellent way to bring job preparedness into their academic curriculum allowing them to gain practical experience, whilst also improving their career prospects.”
Dr David Cowan, Associate Lecturer in Law, National University of Ireland Maynooth said “The virtual experience programme is critical to our modules as a whole and have many benefits both practical and intellectual. Students gain real insight into the work lawyers do and gives them a better idea of the areas of law that really interest them, and even to decide whether they want to use their law degree to become a lawyer or pursue other career paths. The first years do the Matheson programme because it sets the tone for the three-year cycle of our compulsory Law & Technology modules by really hitting the two needs law firms have, which is for students to learn to communicate the law in the digital age and to understand the impact of technology on the law and the legal profession."
Sinead Eaton, Head, School of Law, University of Limerick said “Matheson has brought graduate recruitment to a new level with their Virtual Experience Programme (VEP), which they developed with legal technology firm Forage. The VEP is very novel and covers a broad range of legal disciplines, that breadth will allow Matheson to identify strong candidates from among law students but also to know to what area of practice a trainee and their skills are best suited.”
Larry Donnelly, Lecturer & Director of Clinical Legal Education, National University of Ireland, Galway said “The VEP integration has played a vital role in exposing our students to just how the theories and black letter law they have been learning in the lecture theatre apply in law practice. This is, in many respects, ‘the missing link’ in third-level legal education in Ireland.”
Ashlie Collins, Global Account Director, Forage said "As our first client in Ireland, Matheson has always been a super important and special client to Forage. The team is incredibly forward-thinking and is always working on new and innovative ways to push the boundaries in the early talent space - as they acknowledge the importance of true open access to the legal profession! Matheson continues to come to us with fresh ideas to engage with early talent in ways that optimise our technology and the Forage platform. It is an amazing partnership, and we look forward to continuing to support the team in achieving their market-leading strategies for years to come!"
Innovation is one of Matheson’s core values and, since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, is one that the firm has focused on to ensure that its student offerings continue to be cutting edge and market leading. In 2020 the firm partnered with Forage to create Ireland’s first legal Virtual Experience Programme (VEP) which gives students a free tailored insight into the firm, the people and its culture and which allows them to build essential legal skills while accessing work experience remotely.