• Major Forum to Improve Social Mobility in Legal Profession Hosted by College of Law and CSET

  • 26 September 2011

  • The College of Law, in collaboration with the City Solicitors’ Educational Trust (CSET), is to host a forum to investigate the best ways of promoting social mobility in the legal sector.

    Nearly 50 representatives from top UK law firms, higher education institutions, voluntary sector organisations and legal services regulators will attend the ‘Social Mobility Through Law’ round table event on Wednesday, September 28 at the College’s London Moorgate centre.

    The College, in partnership with The Sutton Trust, founded the innovative widening-participation scheme Pathways to Law, which supports A-Level students from disadvantaged backgrounds keen to enter the legal profession.

    All of the organisations participating in the event are committed to promoting social mobility by expanding access to legal education and careers in legal practice for students from non-privileged backgrounds. The forum will review the schemes currently on offer, identify any gaps and duplication and investigate the potential for future collaboration across the legal sector.

    Wednesday’s event coincides with the recent launch of the ‘PRIME’ scheme by a group of top UK law firms, which is the legal profession’s first ever collective undertaking to provide quality work experience for state school students.

    Professor Richard de Friend, The College of Law's board member responsible for its social responsibility programme, said: “The importance of programmes to promote social mobility can only increase over the next few years as students – especially those from the least advantaged backgrounds - face a highly challenging job-market; the impact of the government’s debt-reduction measures; and, from 2012, a significant increase in the fees charged for undergraduate degrees

    "With the recent announcement of the PRIME initiative and the priority attached to social mobility by the government and the legal profession, the round table will provide a timely opportunity for a number of key stakeholders to come together and evaluate what more can and should be done in the legal sector. Both the College and CSET are delighted by the response to the event."

    Roger Finbow, Chair of CSET, added:  “We are seeing a step-change in the legal sector’s commitment to fairer access. With the advent of PRIME, we now have a serious cross-profession commitment to give quality work experience opportunities to school-age students.  CSET, whose focus is on the next link in the career chain, hopes that the round table will identify what we can and should be doing on a collective basis to enhance the confidence and aspirations of university students from less privileged backgrounds and thereby improve their prospects of embarking on a fulfilling legal career."

    Further information from 

    Lucy Wray, Press Officer, The College of Law: 01483 216072, Mob: 07771 971464 (lucy.wray@lawcol.co.uk)

    Rachel Hirst, PR for CSET, MHP Communications:  020 3128 8100 (Rachel.Hirst@mhpc.com)

    Organisations taking part in the Social Mobility Through Law roundtable:

    Addleshaw Goddard
    Allen & Overy
    Ark Academies
    Black Lawyers Directory
    Bridge Group
    Bright Network
    Brightside Trust
    Cabinet Office
    CIT Solutions
    City Brokerage
    City Solicitors Educational Trust
    Clifford Chance
    DLA Piper
    Government Legal Service
    Herbert Smith
    Hogan Lovells
    Inner Temple
    Law Society
    Legal Services Board
    MHP Communications
    Northumbria University
    Pathways to Law
    Russell Group
    Simmons & Simmons
    Slaughter and May
    Social Mobility Foundation
    Sponsors for Educational Opportunity
    Stephenson Harwood
    The College of Law
    The Sutton Trust
    Thomson Philanthropy
    Travers Smith
    University of Essex