Legal profession has stronger showing in 2019 UK social mobility index

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The legal profession has a stronger showing in this year’s Social Mobility Employer Index in the UK.

Twenty-five of the 75 employers included in the index this year are legal organisations. Last year, when the index recognised 50 employers, 14, or 28%, were legal organisations.

Baker McKenzie topped the profession this year, clinching the fifth spot in the index compiled by the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF). It is followed by the Ministry of Justice, which is ranked seventh. Linklaters secured the ninth spot, while Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) completes the top ten.

Also among the top 75 are:

Last year, the profession was led in the index by the Ministry of Justice, which was ranked third. It was followed by BCLP, which was ranked fourth. Baker McKenzie ranked 10th last year, followed by Linklaters at 11th, HSF at 15th, and Freeths at 19th.

The other firms recognised last year were Clifford Chance (22nd), Eversheds Sutherland (23rd), Hogan Lovells (36th), DLA Piper (38th), Pinsent Masons (41st), HFW (44th), Slaughter and May (45th), and Mayer Brown International (47th).

The 125 employers who entered to be assessed for the index this year employ more than 1.1 million people in the UK, the foundation said.

“The quality of submissions this year meant we have increased the size of our top list from 50 to 75 and it shows the very wide range of organisations trying to make progress on social mobility,” said David Johnston OBE, chief executive of the SMF. “Whilst no employer would say they have cracked their social mobility challenge, all of the employers in the top list – along with those that didn’t quite make it – should be congratulated for the efforts they’re making to ensure their organisation is open to talent from all class backgrounds,”

The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, chair of the SMF, said that social mobility is becoming a cause for more and more of the UK’s top employers.

“When politics is weak, society needs to be strong – so it is welcome a growing number of employers are stepping up to the plate. They recognise the need to open their doors to a wider pool of talent both to address growing public concerns about unfairness and to reap the business benefits from having more diverse workforces. The onus is now on all of our country’s top employers to do the same,” Milburn said.