Osborne Clarke's ongoing commitment to improving social diversity is paying off, as the firm now ranks 26th out of the top 75 organisations leading the way on social diversity. That's an increase of 22 places since its performance in the 2021 Index when it ranked 48.
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.
"I believe driving social diversity, which is often coupled with other diversity characteristics, is fundamental to improving diversity and capturing its benefits."
Katherine Kirrage, Partner and Co-Champion of the firm's Social Diversity Network, commented on the successful ranking, "I believe driving social diversity, which is often coupled with other diversity characteristics, is fundamental to improving diversity and capturing its benefits. I'm particularly excited by our work around inclusion and storytelling and love uncovering the diversity of backgrounds of the people in our business."
Partner Co-Champion, Tom Harding, commented on his own experience, "Effectively I was a career changer, having had a successful 10 year stint as a DJ before I became a lawyer. Unfortunately 30 of 32 law firms turned down my application outright on the basis of my background alone. So I'm well aware of the challenges in trying to get into the legal profession, and how "imposter syndrome" can manifest in trying to progress. I'm passionate about getting the best diverse talent we can into the profession, and it's great our ongoing efforts are getting recognised for making a difference."
"All our people are unique, and we want to ensure Osborne Clarke is an environment where everyone can thrive."
"I grew up in South Wales and was actively discouraged from pursuing my dream of becoming a lawyer because of where I came from. That's why it's so important to me and the network that we encourage more people from different backgrounds to join and progress within the legal profession," said Lara.
Katy added, "I went to a school in North West England and experienced first-hand the difficulties involved in entering the legal profession from a "non-traditional" background. All our people are unique, and we want to ensure Osborne Clarke is an environment where everyone can thrive."
The social diversity network team has led on a number of high-profile initiatives during the last year that contributed to the successful ranking, for example:
Colleagues volunteered 100+ hours on the firm's flagship schools programme, The Bridge, to facilitate access to the legal sector for young people from diverse backgrounds.
- Hosting students from The Bridge schools as part of Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP) virtual work experience programme.
- Collaborated with social diversity organisations including Strive and The 93% Club to run a series of student events providing the opportunity to hear about different routes into law, supported by mock assessments.
- Continued participation in upReach's Assessed Virtual Internship Programme.
- Engaged and collaborated on social diversity programmes with clients including ITV and Vodafone.
In addition to the programmes run by the network, Osborne Clarke has invested in a number of initiatives to support social diversity in the firm, such as new data analysis software. The programme helps the firm monitor how people from different backgrounds join, leave or progress in the firm which helps to uncover root causes of barriers to change.
Since 2015, not including the most recent September cohort, the firm has taken on 24 apprentices, of whom 66% are Female, 17% are Ethnic Minority and 71% are from socioeconomically mixed backgrounds.
During the summer, it hosted 11 interns as part of #10,000 Black Interns Programme for a six-week programme with continued mentoring support. The legal interns also spent a week with the firm's client, TikTok, to get some insight into in-house legal work.
Check out the video with the social diversity network discussing the key programmes for the last year and what's to come.
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.