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Ropes & Gray combines contextual recruitment and CV blind in revamped trainee hiring process

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US player will now recruit rookies exclusively from its vac scheme

Ropes & Gray law firm

The London office of US outfit Ropes & Gray has launched a new hybrid trainee recruitment process as part of an effort to ensure it attracts the very best talent through its doors irrespective of their socio-economic background.

Following a successful pilot, the firm has integrated two distinct City hiring tools, contextual recruitment and CV blind, to create a new model that cherry picks the best elements of both approaches.

In brief, prospective Ropes & Gray trainees will have the option during the online application stage to submit information as part of Rare’s contextual recruitment tool. The system — already in place at a host of City firms — pulls data from two databases (school/college results and UK postcodes) and combines this information to place wannabe lawyers’ accomplishments in context.

Following an initial sift by the firm’s graduate recruitment team, three of Ropes & Gray’s London partners then review the applications and identify who to invite to an assessment day.

It’s at this point in the recruitment process that the CV blind element comes into play. The rigorous assessment day — which features a range of tasks and an interview — is overseen by a new batch of partners and senior associates who are only aware of candidates’ names.

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Ruchit Patel, a graduate recruitment partner at Ropes & Gray, told Legal Cheek:

“We want to ensure that we attract the very best talent to our doors regardless of background. That requires identifying relative overachievers and mediating unconscious bias. We are delighted with the outcome of the pilot which seeks to achieve that and believe our fresh approach is a major improvement on the more traditional recruitment methods used by many other firms in the City.”

Ropes & Gray, which takes on around seven trainees annually, confirmed the new approach will apply to students seeking a place on its vacation scheme. This on account of the firm’s recent decision to recruit trainees exclusively from its vacation scheme cohorts.

News of Ropes & Gray’s recruitment revamp comes just days after reports claimed four partners are set to leave following discussions with firmwide management. Speaking to Legal Week (£), sources suggested the impending exits are part of a strategic shift as the firm looks to instil a more global focus in the capital.

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37 Comments

Hot in here

Sweaty boiler room, expect 15 hour days minimum

(9)(0)

Anonymous

Absolute rubbish, Ropes is an amazing place to work at.

(2)(11)

Anonymous

Hi HR.

(18)(0)

Anonymous

dying firm lol – losing lots of people in London

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Really?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Read the legal press and see. Ropes are gonna shut in under 24 months, mark my words. Losing assoc and partners left right centre

(2)(2)

Anonymous

This is total bollocks.

(0)(0)

PEPE

ROFL OK HUN

(0)(1)

Anonymous

I’d actually agree with this. A lot of unhappy people here.

(3)(0)

Orwell

Nice work GestapoCheek, those comments definitely required deleting.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

GestapoCheel has killed me 😂😂

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Children attend schools largely based on parental choice/parental wealth (excepting the small number of grammars). Schools however all sit the same exams and have national standards for those exams. So removing school name from a CV might be rational – provided you can identify children who attend really bad schools and thus identify people who achieve despite their school. Personally I think that lacks nuance and it would be better for HR and grad partners to be taught about UK schools so that they themselves can spot issues. Trusting an algorithm is unwise – it’s been 30 years and we still don’t have useful spell checkers.

Children attend university based on merit. There are no national standards nor national tests – meaning the university a person attends does matter, and, provided the recruiter is well informed, will give objectively useful information. Removing the university name is unhelpful and anti meritocratic.

What is worse is that pushing the decision on hiring to performance at assessment center/interview alone will create a bias in favor of the privately educated and wealthy. We know from work the Sutton trust has done, that those young people are rich in ‘soft skills’ which is what assessment centers mostly test.

So effectively we’re suggesting we reduce the element of meritocracy (and academic ability) in favor of a system which tests the qualities that we already know wealthy children are more likely to possess.

This seems to me to be a regressive step.

(21)(1)

Anonymous

“Children attend university based on merit.”

Surely you must be joking? At the risk of seeming like an apologist for affirmative action etc (I’m not, just to preempt that particular straw man), I would suggest that you’re either a) too lucky to have noticed how uneven the playing field is, or b) willfully distorting the facts to suit your agenda.

Let’s take Oxbridge as the obvious example. While those from independent schools are frequently encouraged to apply and indeed coached on the application process by those with a thorough understanding of how it works, those with equal talent at crappy schools have none of this inside info and very often don’t end up applying at all – and when they do, their privately educated peers, having been prepared for the process by teachers with strong links to elite unis, obviously have a much higher success rate. This is obviously not meritocratic.

Before you paint me as some neo-Marxist social justice warrior, take pause: I am not even endorsing the CV-blind/contextual approach. Yet firms like Ropes do not operate as charities and have clearly realised (along with quite a few other firms) that the best people do not always come from some ancient bastion of prestige.

For what it’s worth, I think the solution (insofar as there can be one) is for those of us who’ve made it from difficult backgrounds into elite unis and law firms to give our younger counterparts some help, by putting aside some time here and there to advise them on applications and the inside info which those from disadvantaged backgrounds miss out on.

(23)(2)

Anonymous

Great great final paragraphs! Help those coming up so they know and understand what it takes to get in just like you have.

(8)(0)

Lexi

What’s working there like? Id really like to move there as an NQ into their capital markets/high yield bond team, it fascinates me. Ive completed two seats in personal injury and one in motor insurance, do u think I have a good chance at working at a top firm like Ropes and Grey? Thank u!

(27)(1)

Anonymous

Faker than Barcelona’s fair play

(6)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Apply to https://www.jonesday.com/.

They’re looking for candidates just like you.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

I really wish I understood this banter??

(4)(2)

ZYZZZ

Betas can never understand

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Or Dechart

(6)(1)

Anonymous

Lmao

(0)(0)

JD Partner

Hold up, we need a photo first. Clothes optional but not preferred.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Move to Weil

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Sorry I I wrote this comment before I had bothered reading the ‘I’ve done 2 seats in Personal Injury’. I now realise this is a joke.

(3)(0)

Lexi

Stfu it aint a joke!!!!!!!!

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Lexi <3

(1)(0)

Lexi

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Any firm would be mad to want to take someone from a state school over one from a private school. The former will be gauche, chippy and badly educated; the latter will be confident, polished and well educated. And university is critical, too. You would be equally deranged to recruit a candidate from, say, Southampton or Warwick, when you have the option of Oxbridge hires.

(30)(15)

Anonymous

There are some exceptional state schools in this country, some of which are highly selective and better than your average £9,000 pa midlands/northern independent school.

(5)(11)

Anonymous

You sound like an absolute weasel of the first order

(14)(14)

Anonymous

I know who wrote it, so obvious lol

(0)(0)

Anonymous

LEGAL CHEEK’s censorship is what is ruining what already is a dying site #MLCGA

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Harsh but fair

(11)(1)

Anonymous

Bollox u Tory cryptofascist

(3)(12)

State school chav

Oh get lost, you pretentious wanker.

(2)(2)

Comments are closed.

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