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June 6

Flex Legal & Tesco: Unlocking diverse legal talent

Case Studies

Mary Bonsor

Mary Bonsor

Tesco Case Study Banner

Tesco as a whole is committed to empowering and enabling diversity across all of its operations, from supply chains to the people who serve in its stores.

The Tesco legal team is no different – it has undergone significant transformation within the last few years, with major change for its people, processes and technology.

An untapped pool of diverse talent

They are, of course, determined to ensure that they continue to hire the right people, with the right skills and the right mindset, but with an additional focus on continuing to expand on their already diverse team. Bringing different voices and experiences to the team is a critical factor in team development.

Adrian Morris, the Group General Counsel, had already made fantastic strides in this area, with an exceptional internship programme which sees eight law graduates from diverse backgrounds from across the Company’s stores spend time in the legal team each Summer.

However, Adrian and his team concluded a year ago that they were only scratching the surface of this untapped pool of talent and wanted to go further. His vision was that they set up a formal pathway for this talent and go even further by offering them the support and sponsorship to go on to actually qualify as solicitors into the Tesco legal team.

These candidates, already passionate about working for Tesco, would know Tesco from the bottom up and bring fresh perspective to the team. The challenge was always going to be how to manage a project of this nature to deliver both a great training experience for the new team members, as well as ensuring they could add value to the business as soon as possible.

Adrian and his team brought in Flex Legal, with its award-winning and established Trainee and Apprentice programme, to brainstorm how best to take this forward.

I had a vision to create exciting new legal opportunities for the amazing diverse talent that was already in Tesco.

Adrian Morris, Group General Counsel at Tesco

Flex Trainee: A groundbreaking initiative in social mobility

The result is a truly groundbreaking initiative in social mobility and the legal profession.

Flex Legal worked closely with the Tesco team to design a bespoke programme that would satisfy all of these goals, was scalable, repeatable and would enable Tesco to leverage Flex’s deep expertise and knowledge of the SQE pathway to qualification.

Tesco worked hard to identify appropriate candidates before Flex Legal took on the task of whittling it down further by running one of our assessment days onsite in the Tesco Head Office.

Having scoped the desired attributes, motivations and experience that Tesco wanted to see, we ran a 5-hour workshop comprising: a 1:1 interview with each candidate which included guidance and prompts for the Tesco team to surface much-needed insight into the applicants’ personalities and drivers, an engaging group activity designed to give them space to showcase their research capabilities, ability to work as a team, and highlight which candidates might have the burgeoning leadership skills which would set them up for success in a team with so much opportunity for growth and development. The group activity culminated in a presentation to Flex and members of the wider Tesco legal group with space for questions, and on-the-spot feedback.

We also put each candidate through our own online assessment to get a steer on their attention to detail and time management. After the candidates left, Flex sat down with the Tesco team to work through a scorecard matrix which put appropriate emphasis on each aspect of the assessment centre to allow Tesco to see clearly which candidates were their next potential shining stars.

Understanding the Tesco team, and how they worked, was absolutely critical to the success of this workshop, and we loved getting to know the team. As Tesco would employ the candidates directly, Flex’s role was to put a framework around the assessment and facilitate the day itself.

We are always open to creating unique programmes for our clients, when we can see the huge benefit it will bring to aspiring solicitors. It has been wonderful to work with a company so passionate about social mobility.

Mary Bonsor, Founder at Flex Legal

From shop floor to legal trainees

The upshot was that Tesco took forward three fantastic candidates who had all worked in store or in supporting roles. Two law graduates have joined as apprentices, and one LPC graduate as a trainee.

Tesco was also pleased to find a new way to tap into their underused Apprenticeship Levy - navigating how to do this in the wider corporate market continues to be a challenge.

This was not the end of the Flex Legal - Tesco story: having helped Tesco find their own budding lawyers, Flex has extended the pastoral side of its existing Flex Trainee initiative by appointing individual mentors from Flex HQ to buddy up with the new trainees, as well as having monthly check-ins with the project lead at Tesco to make sure all remains on track. We look after all aspects of working legal life from how to approach evidencing Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) using our online journal, to offering much welcomed support throughout the Solicitors Qualifying Exams (SQEs) where we enjoy a close relationship with our preferred course provider, Barbri.

The result has been an overwhelming success. The candidates are thrilled to have been given a chance to qualify as lawyers within a company they know well. Tesco are incredibly proud to have found a concrete way to support aspiring solicitors through to qualification and to have a tangible way of further contributing to a more balanced and representative legal profession.

And, in so doing, Tesco is also benefiting from tapping into a fantastic legal talent pipeline already in their business.

For our part, Flex Legal is delighted to have played a part in creating the first unique scheme in the legal industry, and forging continued strong links with such a forward-thinking partner.

What's next?

Flex is delighted to continue to support Tesco as the company formalises how it attracts talent from traditionally under-represented groups. We cannot wait to be involved with the upcoming Summer internship programme, ahead of repeating the exercise with a fresh bunch of ambitious individuals committed to a career in law, and building a talent pipeline we can both be proud of.

I feel incredibly proud of what we have achieved with this programme. Our new team members have outstanding potential and are a key part of our future talent pipeline. My thanks to Mary and the Flex team for their outstanding support in helping us to make this happen.

Adrian Morris, Group General Counsel at Tesco

Additional resources:

  • Hire a Flex paralegal - If reading this case study has you scratching your chin, wondering if hiring a Flex paralegal is a good idea, then why not learn more? Click the link to get the ball rolling.
  • How Saad went from Flex Paralegal to Flex Trainee - Paralegals working through Flex don’t stay that way forever. Some of them graduate onto the Flex Trainee scheme, just like Saad did. Read more!
  • Apply to be a Flex paralegal - Are you interested in interim paralegal opportunities? Flex Legal is here for you! Submit your CV today and apply to the platform.