Legal profession most represented sector in 2020 Social Mobility Employer Index

updated on 13 November 2020

The Social Mobility Foundation revealed its top 75 UK employers for social mobility earlier in the week, with law firms making up 30% of the listed employers.

The Social Mobility Index ranks employers based on their actions to improve access by “progressing talent from all backgrounds”. The index also aims to encourage firms to be more open about the initiatives in place, as well as the progress they are making to become more inclusive employers.

While progress to improve social mobility within the legal profession is still too slow, the 2020 index indicates that some progress is being made.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner was the top-ranking law firm in this year’s index. Meanwhile, Browne Jacobson LLP (5), Herbert Smith Freehills LLP (7) and Baker McKenzie (10) have top 10 spots, with Linklaters LLP ranking as the 11th best UK employer for improving social mobility.

The other law firms included in the index were Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (19), Hogan Lovells International LLP (20), Brodies LLP (24), Slaughter and May (25), Allen & Overy (28), Pinsent Masons (30), RPC (34), Shoosmiths (38), Burges Salmon LLP (39), DWF (40), Squire Patton Boggs LLP (46), Freeths LLP (51), Shepherd and Wedderburn (52), Simmons & Simmons LLP (57), Lewis Silkin (59), Mayer Brown International LLP (66), Macfarlanes LLP (67), TLT LLP (68), and Charles Russell Speechlys LLP (72).

Radcliffe Chambers (61) was the only barristers’ chambers to feature on the list. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice (6), the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple (53) and the Crown Prosecution Service (55) were also named among the 75 employers for best social mobility practices.

Despite law being the most represented sector in this year’s index, there is still a long way to go as law firms continue to prioritise Russel Group graduates during the recruitment process. The figures from the 2020 index highlight that only 16.1% of law firms graduate intake is from non-Russel Group universities. That said, non-Russel Group universities are becoming increasingly popular with firms, according to 2020’s Employer Index Report.