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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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