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Farewell freebies? 7 City firms pledge greener trainee recruitment practices

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Reduction in merch and limit to on-campus travel among possible changes

Legal Cheek’s Adam Mawardi with his stash of law fair freebies

A group of leading City law firms have today pledged to find more environmentally friendly ways of attracting young lawyers through their doors in a move that could potentially mark the start of the end for the much loved law fair freebie.

The Sustainable Recruitment Alliance says it will provide tips and resources to help member organisations “take the small steps necessary to change their habits and preserve the environment” for the next generation of rookie recruits.

Those signed up from the legal sector so far are Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Pinsent Masons, RPC, TLT and Weil Gotshal.

The member firms hope to achieve their green goals by reducing the use of physical branding materials and merchandise, as well as limiting travel to recruitment events. They will also report annually on their progress and publish the environmental impact that the changes are having.

Secure your place: The UK Virtual Law Fair Series 2020

The alliance, launched by Clifford Chance and communications agency Blackbridge, says most firms rely on merchandise, travel and event catering when wooing law grads, all of which plays a part in the waste of resources and the production of carbon dioxide.

Laura Yeates, head of graduate talent at Clifford Chance and chair of the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance, said:

“Nearly two decades in this industry has left me wondering why we, as recruiters, place such importance on disposable material objects when building relationships with candidates and promoting our brands. Our consumption in the name of attraction is inexcusable and it needs to change now.”

She continued: “Our position as founding partners of the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance cements Clifford Chance’s commitment to finding a more sustainable way of recruiting, not just for us but for the whole early talent industry.”

Other organisations to join the alliance include Babcock International Group, Co-op, Enterprise, DAZN, myGwork, National Student Pride, Police Now and Unlocked Graduates.

From phone speakers to laser pens, law firm freebies have been a staple part of law student life for many years now. But green initiatives such as this, along with a greater uptick in virtual law fairs in response to the pandemic (Legal Cheek is hosting a bunch which you can find out more about here), could well sound the death knell for law firm merch.

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