A group of City law firms including Fenchurch Law, the firm working exclusively for policyholders and brokers on insurance coverage disputes, have published a pioneering action plan to boost social mobility and widen opportunities within the legal sector and launched a Levelling Up Law Coalition to deliver on the recommendations.
The firms have collaborated with a number of universities across the regions, including Bradford, Staffordshire, Lincoln, York St John and Liverpool John Moores, in a bid to create new and wider pathways from higher education into the legal sector.
The action plan sets out recommendations for leading law firms to work together on solutions that benefit the whole legal profession. Research shows that more diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability and the plan looks at how the profession can tap into talent from a range of backgrounds.
The project has been led by former government minister, member of Parliament and city solicitor Seema Kennedy OBE. Fenchurch Law and the other firms now plan to go further and play a leading role in the UK’s national recovery from coronavirus, opening up greater access to careers in the legal sector.
The publication of the action plan also marks the launch of the group of firms forming a Levelling Up Law Coalition, coming together to take leadership on the levelling up agenda through the lens of the legal sector.
Kennedy said: “The pandemic has caused many young people to lose jobs or have their future opportunities restricted. Meanwhile, there is now a building demand and need for reskilling and career changes.”
“What is now abundantly clear is that levelling up needs to go far beyond just government action, we need businesses to play their role if we are to succeed. Through this action plan, CLLS members have shown that they are committed to playing their part in boosting opportunity and social mobility as part of our recovery.”
David Pryce, managing partner at Fenchurch Law, said: “Levelling Up Law is the most effective initiative that I’ve come across with regard to promoting social mobility within the legal profession. The project’s goal of creating true equality of opportunity is vitally important not just in terms of basic fairness, but also because law firms have for too long drawn on an artificially limited pool of talent.
“If the UK is to retain its place as a leading global legal market, it is essential we start recruiting based on potential, and stop favouring people based on their background and upbringing. Like most firms we have further to go on our journey to creating a truly diverse team, but I have no doubt that we will only be able to unlock our full potential once we do.”