qLegal has been running an Externship programme for several years but the scheme has been turbo charged recently as a result of a new partnership with the Enterprise Lab at Imperial College London.
Under the qLegal Externship programme, students spend one day per week for a period of 3-6 months working within a start-up. Students gain commercial awareness and develop their legal and business skills as they work closely with the teams within the fledgling businesses. The students’ practical experience is augmented by regular coaching sessions with qLegal staff on business-related topics.
Imperial College’s Enterprise Lab acts as an incubator and accelerator, providing support to start-ups run by Imperial College students and alumni. As a result of the new collaboration with qLegal, twenty start-ups were selected by the Enterprise Lab to host one or more qLegal externs. The businesses are across sectors, with the start-ups ranging from companies developing wearable tech to helping sustainable food production, creating new medical applications to decarbonising energy provision.
The qLegal externs have already commented on how much they are learning, in terms of the fast-paced and agile way in which the start-ups operate and in relation to the specific tasks they are undertaking to help support the businesses. Students may be conducting legal research one minute, competitor analysis the next, then going on to deliver a presentation to the CEO. They receive regular feedback from their extern hosts and report feeling invested in the success of the business.
The new batch of start-ups augments those who have already been working with qLegal on this programme. Some of the externs hosts have partnered with qLegal for several years and have gone on to offer paid contracts if not permanent jobs to qLegal students once the qLegal externship period has ended.