For the third consecutive year Osborne Clarke has improved its performance in the Social Mobility Employer Index (SMEI), and now ranks 19th out of the top 75 organisations leading the way on social diversity. That's an increase of seven places since 2022, when it ranked 26th.

SMEI commended the firm for performing well in its employee engagement survey, with 84% of its people that responded to the survey agreeing that Osborne Clarke's senior leadership is committed to improving the socioeconomic diversity of its workforce. That's compared to a 68% average across all organisations that participated in the SMEI employee survey.

Commenting on the firm's success, Associate Director and Co-chair of the firm's social diversity network, Lara Flynn said, "This is a great reflection of all the work we collectively put in across our network working closely with our partner champions, leadership team and all our people who deliver these programmes that really are making an impact for our business and in our communities."

"One the biggest challenges for a firm of our size is advocacy and keeping people engaged given the various demands on their time, but again, the feedback from our people highlights we're striking the right balance," added Katy Godwin, Associate and Co-chair of the network.

In addition to the positive employee survey feedback, the firm launched new programmes and expanded initiatives, which contributed to the improved ranking this year including:

  • Hosted 15 work experience students from The Bridge schools, helping to facilitate access to the legal sector for young people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Expanded its #10,000 Black Interns (10KBI) Programme with client placements at ITV, OVO, PPF, Uni of Bristol, British Land and Hargreaves Lansdown and offered training contracts to three interns. Also collaborated with all 10KBI law firms to offer further training sessions ranging from building confidence to navigating imposter syndrome.
  • Delivered a workshop in partnership with the 93% Club on Watson Glaser recruitment tests to three universities, attended the 93% Club Social Mobility Factory event attended by over 400 students and conducted mock interviews with 20 attendees.
  • Described by The Lawyer, as a "trailblazer " and "pioneering" among the UKTop50 for solicitor apprenticeships and one of seven City Century spearhead firms. Continuing to invest in solicitor and non-solicitor apprenticeships and, this year, expanded the programme to offer solicitor apprenticeship placements in Reading. Since 2015, the firm has taken on 49 apprentices, of whom 57% are from socioeconomically mixed backgrounds, 63% are Female and 22% are Ethnic Minority.
  • Engaged and collaborated on social diversity programmes with clients including ITV and Vodafone and building apprenticeship connections through client secondments.

Launched in 2017, the Social Mobility Employer Index is the leading authority on employer-led social diversity. Employers are benchmarked against one another across seven key areas: the results for their work with young people, routes into the employer, the attraction of staff, recruitment and selection, data collection, progression of staff and experienced hires and advocacy.

Being a responsible and ethical business and employer underpins Osborne Clarke's business strategy. The Osborne Clarke For Good framework is the firm's way of ensuring it's a good corporate citizen, a good employer and a good business.

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