City nine back common diversity in law scheme

Nine top City firms were among a group of organisations that launched a common diversity in law policy last November. The move came a week after David Lammy, the Minister for Constitutional Affairs, called on firms and chambers to look outside Oxbridge for recruits.

City nine back common diversity in law schemeAllen & Overy (A&O), Ashurst, Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance, DLA, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Slaughter and May and Weil Gotshal & Manges all signed a statement of intent underlining the seriousness with which diversity is now taken.

The scheme is the brainchild of Global Graduates, which mentors students from disadvantaged and state school backgrounds through their university years.

While the scheme does not support quotas, many of the firms involved are understood to be focusing on practical issues, such as making sure students from non-traditional backgrounds have a chance of vacation placements.

However, The Lawyer can reveal that the Citys top law firms are still Oxbridge-dominated at partnership level, with Slaughters and Freshfields having the largest percentage of Oxbridge-educated partners.

City sources argue that partnership diversity inevitably lags behind trainee intake. Freshfields now recruits from 50 universities and Linklaters from 35.

Of all the City firms surveyed, only A&O declined to give information on partners educational backgrounds, claiming that such statistics were unavailable.

UK firms’ Oxbridge partners
Firm % of UK-qualified Oxbridge partners
Slaughter and May 58
Freshfields 51
Herbert Smith 46
Linklaters 44
Lovells 40.5
Ashurst 35
Clifford Chance* 33
Simmons & Simmons 22
Norton Rose* 20
Allen & Overy Undisclosed
*Figures for London
Source: The Lawyer