Akin Gump drops A-Level requirement in diversity push

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MoneyLaw training contract more attainable?

The London office of US firm Akin Gump has removed minimum A-Level requirements for its training contract.

The move, which was made last month in preparation for the opening of the new application window in early October, is part of the firm’s diversity and inclusion commitment, and is intended to support “access to law for all”.

Akin Gump, which takes on about six trainees each year, had required a minimum of AAB at A-Level or a score of 36 on the International Baccalaureate. The requirement has been removed from the firm’s UK careers website, a spokesperson said, as well as from its entries in the latest graduate recruitment publication profiles.

Vance Chapman, Akin Gump partner and London training principal, said: “We are keen to ensure we continue to attract and recruit exceptional legal talent, no matter their background, and to make sure A-Level grades in and of themselves are not a barrier to applying to the firm.”

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Chapman continued:

“Within any application, candidates will continue to provide details of their A-Levels, or equivalent, as well as university results, but we take a more holistic view on academic progression when considering applications.”

Legal Cheek reported last month that City outfits DWF and Ashurst similarly scrapped specific A-Level requirements amid the summer exam results fiasco that meant almost 40% of grades were downgraded due to a “mutant algorithm”. The government has since backtracked and awarded sixth-form students teachers’ predicted grades.

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All of this stuff is such nonsense. The trainees they take on will be exactly the same ‘types’.



Hope so, if it ain’t broke….


Forest GUMP

I swear they only take like 5 trainees a year lol. I’m sure this will help massively.



I hate the term but this is virtue signalling pure and simple. No one is going to be rejected for a TC based on A Levels alone. If your A Levels are weaker you are unlikely to go to a Russell Group Uni. Now let’s see if Akin Pump would be prepared to take on trainees from ex polys?



You can drop the A-level requirement all you want if you continue to predominantly hire from Oxbridge or the likes of LSE/UCL/Durham or other highly ranked RG unis where everyone and their dog has at least AAB. Most of the people with poor A-levels will be at terrible ex-polys no good City firm would even look at.

Firms should seriously stop virtue signalling. Stop giving people false hope



I got ABB and a first from one of the universities you mention.

I think prescriptiveness about A-levels may lead to some slightly arbitrary decisions being taken by firms. That’s their prerogative, but I think it is the case.



The best get straight A’s and sail into Oxbridge wherever they come from. The bottom half of Oxbridge is no different from the top half of the rest of the next tier. It is sorting out the top section of Oxbridge from the rest that is the challenge. After that they are quite fungible.


Oxford First

“The bottom half of Oxbridge is no different from the top half of the rest of the next tier. It is sorting out the top section of Oxbridge from the rest that is the challenge. After that they are quite fungible.”

As someone with an Oxford first, reading stuff like this is funny. There isn’t that much difference between most of the cohort, the top 5-10 students will be exceptional, but otherwise I wouldn’t say much separates a first from a mid 2.1



Quite. If you attend Oxbridge as an undergraduate, you are by definition the intellectual cream of your generation.



Law firms dropping A level grade requirements is very performative and fake.

Another article on listed all the firms without an A Level requirement and how these firms are opening the doors for diversity, yet it included Slaughter and May but almost everyone who has been interviewed by SaM has been interrogated in the interview about their GCSE and A level grades if they’re not straight As/A*s.

This is why I don’t believe any of these firms because even if they don’t immediately dismiss your application because of low past grades, they will be sure to bring it up in your interview instead.


Exeter grad

I had high firsts in all of my university modules and Slaughters asked me whether I actually earned those grades or if they’re simply my university law school inflating the grades because apparently my uni was notorious for grade inflation.

They ask you these sorts of questions to throw you off and see how you’ll respond because that’s the culture at the firm. It’s very cut throat and brutal and hierarchical.


Queen Mary final year

I also got questioned on my universities grade inflation during my Slaughters interview haha.



I think this interview technique is an excellent one. Elite law firms such as Slaughters want to hire people who truly are resilient and unflappable. Anyone can make up a fictional story in an interview of how resilient they are but how many will remain calm when you directly attack something they presumably feel proud about (their academic record).


Emma B

I explained in my Slaughters application my extenuating circumstances that prevented me from getting good grades at A level yet they kept pressing me in the interview about why my past grade performance was low. I’m pretty sure it was to deliberately throw me off and see how I would respond but it immediately put me off the firm.



Cool story brah, changed my loyfe


Christopher J

If we’re being honest even a 2:1 at a top Russell group uni and Oxbridge is pretty average these days. Instead of having high A level and GCSE requirement they should make the university grade requirement higher.

A 2.1 and even a low first at an average Russell Group uni and non Russell group uni is almost equivalent to a 3rd/2:2 these days due to grade inflation.

Anything but a first at uni is laughable.



It is also certainly the case that an expensive private school can get even an average student straight As, but it is much more difficult for an average student to get a 1st. I see plenty of trainees at my MC firm that have straight As at GCSE/AS/A Levels but then a 2.1 at Uni.



I couldn’t agree more with this.


The truth hurts

Private school children outperform state educated kids several times over. That is why the top jobs are held by those who have been to private schools. This is unsurprising. Intelligence is greatly influenced by genetics. The link between intelligence and earnings is huge. So wealthy people tend to have more intelligent children than the poor. Therefore, the fact that the privately educated dominate jobs demanding of high intelligence is because employers choose the best available candidates.



Do you actually believe this drivel?

Expensive education = better exam results.

Better exam results =/ more intelligent individual.



Unfortunately for the vast majority of privately educated students, this not the case.
State school students, who are used to having to teach themselves and have never been spoon fed, tend to perform better in university examinations than their privately educated peers.

Take, for instance, research done by Cambridge Assessment department:
“In both Russell and non-Russell Group universities, students from independent schools were less likely to achieve either a first class degree or at least an upper second class degree than students from comprehensive schools with similar prior attainment”.



So privilege makes children intelligent??

You my friend, are an idiot


The actual truth hurts even more

I work in a Magic Circle law firm. The privately educated are no more intelligent than their state educated colleagues and I have received equally good work from both.

The only “better” performance I have noted is in how they get on with the partners and “fit in”, which is more a reflection on my firm’s bankrupt culture than any actual abilities the privately educated possess.


Finding a path

Because they recruit two years in advance. Most of them get into a first year scheme and can do fuck all for the rest of their degree with a job lined up coming out of it


Akin trainee

pure PR nonsense. All this means is graduate recruitment has turned off the feature that sorts applicants with lower than AAB straight into the rejection pile on Apply4Law. The diversity of new hires won’t change a jot – latest round of training contract offers saw over 3/4s go to oxbridge students – they just want to look trendy.



Nothing like the tyranny of low expectations



I’m pretty sure that they never really cared about A levels. The requirements for them were solely to lower the volume of applicants to more manageable levels. I doubt it will make much difference due to the focus on which uni you went to. Still, it might help a few applicants who went to a low ranking uni but got stellar grades on their degree and a variety of other CV fodder.


Petre Griffen

Diversity of ability???


Took a Big L - thanks Gavin

Do I have a chance at a US firm presuming a 1st from the University of Birmingham? I lost my place from LSE because of the grade moderation…


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