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Manu Kanwar, senior legal director at Yahoo!, explains why he was keen to become involved in the PRIME initiative that aims to improve access to the legal profession for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
What is the background to this?
Eight in-house legal teams have signed up with PRIME initiative since September 2012 when the work placement scheme was extended from its base among law firms to cover the client side of the business. Yahoo! was one of those.
Why and when did you decide to join the initiative?
I reached out to David Morley (senior partner of Allen & Overy and chair of PRIME) when PRIME was first announced, towards the end of 2011. I had discussed doing something similar with other general counsels and wanted to understand if we could help promote PRIME (which was at that time mainly a private practice initiative) or share lessons for an in-house version. It was immediately obvious that a great deal of time and effort had been put into PRIME. Allen & Overy was very keen to have an in-house voice and involvement. Since then, we’ve been helping to develop and promote PRIME across the in-house community. We hosted a meeting of 15–20 general counsel at Yahoo!’s offices last year to explore and agree what in-house participation should look like and things have grown from there.
In terms of Yahoo!’s programme, Bird & Bird is our main adviser in the UK and we participated in its programme last October.
Was it difficult to set-up?
Not really. Thankfully, Bird & Bird did most of the hard work! It identified the school to work with, conducted the application and interview process and ran the main scheme for four-and-a-half days. We hosted its stu
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