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Hill Dickinson has decided not to auction off work experience to the highest bidder for charity.

The firm had donated two weeks' work experience in its Manchester office for the 'Beating Hearts Ball' auction to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. Other lots included an album signed by Dua Lipa and a night at the Heathrow Marriot. However only one offered a "lucky winner" the "chance to experience the day to day life of a solicitor in a busy real estate team at one of the 50 largest law firms in the UK", all for a minimum bid of £100. But now BHA patrons will now have to present their disappointed children with football gloves signed by David Seaman instead, because Hill Dickinson has withdrawn its lot after RollOnFriday contacted the firm.

A source said, "it's for a very good cause", but "it's ultimately just another route to advantage to the son or daughter of rich parents. Hardly what the profession needs". While not exactly the Presidents Club, it is widely accepted that, in the interests of diversity and basic common sense, work experience candidates should be selected on the basis of merit rather than how much their parents can afford to pay. Last year Allen & Overy and Freshfields both withdrew work experience lots from a charity auction in similar circumstances.

    Two weeks of all of this could have been yours.

Peter Jackson, the firm's CEO, said, "This was a well-intentioned attempt by a partner to raise funds for a worthy charity which had not been thought through". He said the wider business, including the HR team, was not aware of the prize, and emphasised that applications for placements "have always been open to all and without charge and this will remain the case". In the last two years Hill Dickinson provided work experience places for 192 students.

The firm made a cash donation to the BHF after retracting its lot, which, since most people would pay a lot of money not to do work experience at Hill Dickinson, will almost certainly do more to beat heart disease.
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Comments

Anonymous 16 February 18 14:30

This is a bit unfair, ROF. It was a donation in an attempt to raise money for charity.

I've been at a few charity events where donations include work experience offered by law firms - it is not as if they have anything else to offer for the charity.

Anonymous 16 February 18 19:29

Can we put a compromise on this - auction the right to offer work experience to kids who wouldn't otherwise get the chance?

Roll On Friday 16 February 18 22:56

Agree with 19:29

Or, if the firm confirms that the work experience slots are in addition to what they would offer in a normal year, then it should be fine?

Anonymous 02 March 18 14:19

It doesn't matter "how" it is done or if it is for charity (that is NOT an excuse and I can't believe people actually think that something bad done for a good cause is somehow ok).

Auctioning off of work experience ultimately means that work experience (which we all know is vital when applying for TC's) is given on the basis of money and not on the basis of an individual's merit. That is also the case if "additional" work experience slots are offered.

Until this practice of advantaging people from more affluent backgrounds stops, the legal profession will continue to be a joke for diversity. But hey - at least it's for charity right?