15 City law firms sign social mobility action plan

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Outfits to offer mentoring to aspiring lawyers from disadvantaged backgrounds

A group of leading City law firms have pledged to “create new and wider pathways” into the legal profession through a series of tie-ups with universities across the UK.

The 15-strong cohort will work with the likes of the universities of Bradford, Staffordshire, Lincoln, York St John and Liverpool John Moores, to provide mentoring and career coaching to aspiring lawyers from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The efforts are part of a new partnership between members of the City of London Law Society (CLLS) and the Social Mobility Pledge (SMP) campaign — a cross-party project, co-founded by former Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, to improve social mobility in the UK.

As part of the pledge, City firms also agree to adopt open recruitment practices which promote a level playing field for those seeking to enter the profession.

CLLS member firms committed to the project are: Ashurst, Charles Russell Speechlys, Clyde & Co, CMS, DLA Piper, Eversheds Sutherland, Fenchurch Law, Freshfields, Kingsley Napley, RPC, Simmons & Simmons, Sullivan & Cromwell, Simpson Thacher, Trowers & Hamlins, and Weil Gotshal.

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The project is being led by Seema Kennedy OBE, a former Slaughter and May lawyer and MP.

Greening commented: “Many young people are seeing their life prospects drastically downgraded, with jobs and job offers disappearing. Meanwhile, massive demand for reskilling and career shifting support is building up.”

“Well defined purpose together with a strong culture and leadership have marked out those organisations which have taken the right decisions in response to the crisis, from those which have not,” Greening continued. “The challenge now, and one that CLLS member firms have stepped up to, is for Britain’s businesses and universities to play their role in boosting opportunity and social mobility as part of our national recovery.”

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Social mobility has already gone way too far. My current trainee went to a day school for crying out loud.

The comment is satirical, mocking the attitudes of some in the law rather than endorsing this world view.



Mine has never even been skiing.

It’s obviously not such a problem this year because no one has been able to spend a week at the chalet but in normal times I can’t imagine what we would talk about during the winter months.

It was only after I spent 20 minutes explaining the flaws in England’s approach during their recent test loss to India that she revealed she had never watched a game of cricket.

It’s admirable to want to reach out to state school students but why does nobody consider the impact on the existing interests? If he knew that I would be mixing with state school students anyway then I doubt my father would have bothered paying for Radley.

The comment is satirical, mocking the attitudes of some in the law rather than endorsing this world view.


@ FlourPour

I’ve come across your comments on the recent articles and I have to say you are utterly insufferable.


James E

There’s a special place reserved for you in hell.


Haberdashers Aske squad

Oh look here comes the keyboard warrior FlourPour yet again



The comments are satirical, mocking the attitudes of some in the law rather than endorsing this world view.



Spot on. Much more needs to be done for state school people, whose obvious disadvantages make it hard for them to succeed in the legal profession. I think law firms should send partners to state school 6th forms to explain what the job is about, and to offer placements at the firm. Another way forward would be for a partner to spend time with someone from a state school by way of shadowing, to promote awareness. Socio-economic disparity is huge in the legal profession and such measures would go some way to address this.



Wishful thinking is not a strategy. Here are a couple of reality-based analyses of the likelihood of any “social mobility” programmes working, along with recommendations for practical alternatives:

“For decades mainstream politicians fixated on education as the way to level the playing field of life. They were wrong […] nobody on either side of the Atlantic believes we’ve “fixed” social mobility at all. […] There is no limit on how far the educational arms race can go. Markovits reports that in South Korea, private tutoring now accounts for a staggering 12 per cent of all household expenditure. With expanded universities, graduates now marry and socialise overwhelmingly with other graduates, and so education draws a sharper line between different worlds. […] the way we look at those golden post-war years might be upside down. The burgeoning of the professional classes was not caused by the great expansion of education—it began too early for that. Rather, it was the postwar economy that created the openings […]

Whereas many studies of class look at somebody with a good degree, declare a triumph and move on, this book does not assume that you can dump the baggage of class at a graduation ceremony—or the door of your employer. Instead, it looks at what happens to graduates of different backgrounds when they go to interview, and how working-class young adults fare if and when they make it into elite firms. Even those who storm the citadel go on to earn £6,400 less, a near 16 per cent class pay gap. The head start that professional parents give their children does not stop with coughing up for private tutoring; during internships, they can feed them for as long as it takes, pay the bills and often offer a roof over their heads in the metropolis, too. But the book’s reportage also suggests the power of something more nebulous—differences in people’s expectations and sense of entitlement, as well as their “fit” within the elite. A few extra years of education cannot equalise this, because the differences are simply too deeply rooted. As John Lennon put it in “Working Class Hero,” “As soon as you’re born, they make you feel small…””

The social mobility trap, Tom Clark, Prospect magazine, 9 December 2019,

Downward Social Mobility, BBC Analysis, 22 February 2015: “Social mobility is a good thing – right? Politicians worry that not enough people from less-privileged backgrounds get the opportunity to move up in life. But are we prepared to accept that others lose out – and move in the opposite direction? Jo Fidgen explores the implications of downward social mobility.”



Whoever is spam liking/disliking the comments to spite social mobility really needs to get a life.

How triggered are you that law firms are becoming more diverse that you secretly come onto a comments section to vent your anger.

I feel sorry for the BAME and LGBTQ and disabled trainees who have fellow trainees in their intake who hold prejudiced beliefs against them and lowkey don’t want them at the firm.



The comments are satirical, mocking the attitudes of some in the law rather than endorsing this world view.


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