Background statistics

The background of trainee solicitors in the larger City firms is under scrutiny again this week.  The Times (£) reports a piece of research done by Chambers suggesting on their sampling (which it is difficult to scrutinise from the story):

69 per cent of the magic circle firms’ trainees had gone to private schools, compared with 31 per cent from state schools.

The position in the City firms generally was more even at 48 per cent/52 per cent, while London firms outside the City and those outside London reported about two thirds of their trainees were from state schools.

Nine of the 18 firms taking part in the City Solicitors Horizons’ initiative to combat the “poshness bias” in the legal profession responded to the Chambers survey. At seven of those firms, between 52 per cent and 75 per cent of their trainees had been privately educated, with two reversing the trend – at Macfarlanes, 65 per cent had been to state schools and at Pinsent Masons 67 per cent.

If the figures are close to correct, even the ‘better’ profiles are alarmingly bad. The story’s also interesting because it hints that the US firms take a more egalitarian approach by recruiting from a wider range of Universities. Perhaps they have looked beyond the polish and found the spit?

Meanwhile Alex Novarese takes some time to remind the readership of Legal Business that law firms may have gone backwards on this:

You may have noticed [he tells them, that] a decent chunk of your veteran rainmakers aren’t that posh. There’s a reason for that.

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About Richard Moorhead

Director of the Centre for Ethics and Law and Professor of Law and Professional Ethics at the Faculty of Laws, University College London with an interest in teaching and research on the legal ethics, the professions, legal aid, access to justice and the courts.
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One Response to Background statistics

  1. Andrew says:

    It is indeed unfortunate that the State system is not producing candidates of the same quality as the independent sector, but that is where the problem is. And I say that as a Grammar School and Oxbridge boy who did City articles as we then called them.

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