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Browne Jacobson named one of UK’s leading businesses for social mobility

11 November 2020

The Social Mobility Foundation has announced that law firm Browne Jacobson is one of the UK’s leading employers for promoting social mobility in the workplace.

This year, the firm has been placed 5th amongst the country’s leading employers in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2020, rising up from 82nd place last year, making Browne Jacobson one of the highest ranked law firms in the country.

The Social Mobility Foundation singled out the firm’s partnership with the National Literacy Trust and supporting schools in deprived areas where a high proportion of children are eligible for Free School Meals, the impact of its decision to remove academic grades for its trainee recruitment programme and anonymising CVs to remove the possibility of unconscious bias, a mentoring programme to support students in higher education from disadvantaged backgrounds and its success in attracting graduates from a wider pool of universities than many other firms and businesses.

Caroline Green, senior partner at Browne Jacobson, said:

“To achieve a top five position nationally in only the second year we have been assessed is incredible and testament to everyone who has contributed to our journey to be more inclusive as a business.

“As a national powerhouse we don’t just want to be recognised for our legal expertise; improving equality, diversity and inclusion lie at the heart of our ethos as a business and social mobility is central to this.

“A few years ago, we took a bold decision to remove minimum entry requirements for our lawyer trainee programme. For us this has been a game changer.

“This year we retained over 90 per cent of our newly qualified lawyers, proving law firms can still attract and recruit exceptional legal talent by removing traditional academic thresholds and in doing so improve career opportunities for those that need it most.

“As a business we have never rested on our laurels and will use this platform to advocate for social mobility, implementing new approaches that challenge others in both the legal sector and beyond, to do more over the next 12 months.”

The Social Mobility Employer Index was created by the Social Mobility Foundation in 2017 and ranks UK’s employers on the actions they take to ensure they are open to and progressing talent from all backgrounds. It highlights the employers who are doing the most to change how they find, recruit, and advance talented employees from different social class backgrounds. Now in its fourth year, the Employer Index is the definitive benchmark of organisations committed to improving social mobility in the workplace.

Employers are assessed across seven key areas; these include their work with young people, routes into the company, how they attract talent, recruitment and selection, data collection, progression, experienced hires, and advocacy.

This year saw 119 employers from 17 sectors, who collectively employ almost one million people in the UK, answer around 100 questions. In addition to the employers’ responses, over 14,000 employees also took part in a voluntary employee survey.

Sarah Atkinson, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said:

“I am delighted that Browne Jacobson committed to entering the Index this year. Now more than ever, we need to see business play their part in the levelling up agenda.”

The Rt. Hon. Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Foundation, added:

“As the Covid-19 crisis continues and the UK descends into a sharp recession, more will need to be done to avoid a job catastrophe, for young people particularly. Already 60% of the jobs that have been lost since the pandemic began have been among 18-24-year olds. I urge those sectors of our economy that are not represented in this year’s Index to participate in 2021 and commit to joining the ranks of those employers who are already making such a difference to young people’s life chances.”

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