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.”
Organisations taking part in the Social Mobility Through Law roundtable:
Allen & Overy
Black Lawyers Directory
City Solicitors Educational Trust
Government Legal Service
Legal Services Board
Pathways to Law
Simmons & Simmons
Slaughter and May
Social Mobility Foundation
Sponsors for Educational Opportunity
The College of Law
The Sutton Trust
University of Essex