City firms team up for summer school diversity drive

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  • It's not the attitude of the student's that needs to change...

    Keele University is the highest ranked university in the UK (above Oxford) for legal research and is by no means an "ex-poly". As a Keele graduate I decided to ignore the alleged "glass ceiling" and apply to all the firms that your article lists. Unsurprisingly I was rejected from all of them without even an interview but have worked my way from a small niche firm into a better known firm against the odds. I am the only one of my colleagues who did not go to Oxbridge or Bristol/Exeter. It is not the attitude of students that needs to change but the attitude of the firms.

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  • Just a little patronising

    I am 3 year PQE solicitor from one of the non-Russell Group Universities mentioned in your article. Despite suffering this "disadvantage" I still managed to land offers of training contracts at 2 top 10 law firms (the only 2 top 10 firms I would consider working for and therefore applied to) and duly completed my training at one of them. I was turned down for interview by virtually all of the many "mid-table" firms which I also applied to. I seriously doubt that any top 100 firm suffers from a shortage of quality applications from your "disadvantaged" universities. The lack of trainees from a wide range of universities is because most firms will not even consider applications from these institutions and because they will automatically reject graduates on the basis of A-Level grades. The solution to this problem is not to artificially dress it up as a diversity issue (which is frankly laughable) but for firms to actually read and consider those applications before binning them because they don't rate the candidate's University highly enough or because they do not have sufficient UCAS points.

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  • Bad Attitude in City Firms is the Problem....

    I also attended one of the non-Russell universities listed and found it very hard to get a training contract, not because I was apprehensive of a "glass ceiling" or for lack of skills and qualifications but for the pure and simple reason that the majority of city firms do not consider applications from non-Red brick and Oxbridge university candidates.
    After training in a niche firm I'm now a 3 year PQE in-house in an award winning team at a blue chip company where I am the only one of my contemporaries not from a "Russell" university. A condescending scheme that ticks all the right boxes in HR's diversity and equal opportunities review will not help most law graduates, a change in recruitment attitude away from the "old boys" / "one of us" system that still pervades might....

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  • firms at fault

    I am a newly qualifed legal exec. I applied to one of the top ten and got an interview, I came second. This firm looked at my CV and experience not just which poly awarded my degree. The firms are losing out on good candidates but sticking to "russell group uni's".

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  • So-Called Diversity

    I have always been an optimistic person, hence whenever I see an article on "diversity", I enthusiastically read to see changing trends of the long awaited diversity in firms.
    However, to my greatest surprise, diversity is defined by these City firms as meaning more Caucasian women in the industry.
    Whilst I personally consider this as a great improvement, diversity does not solely encompass women. What about Black British people, Muslims, Chinese and other Asian communities and Jews?
    Don't they qualify as minorities? Or must we continue to delude ourselves that there is "increasing diversity in the Legal profession".

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  • UCAS points

    Why shouldn't firms use the number of UCAS points you have to aid them to make a decision as to whether to employ you? It is an indication of not only how intelligent you are but also how hard you worked, these are exactly some of the assets they are, and should be, looking for. Law is an academic vocation - so you need to be smart. It is also a profession in which you have to work incredibly hard to be successful. What would you suggest as alternative ways of measuring suitability?!

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  • Response to UCAS Points

    To the person who posted "UCAS points". Do you know how many points your colleagues obtained? What they studied? Or even what university they went on to? I very much doubt it. Secondly it is hard to argue that the performance of a 17 year old studying AS level English Literature or Music (as an example) is an appropriate or even accurate measure and reflection for how someone will perform in years to come as a lawyer. This therefore proves the irrelevancy of using UCAS points as a recruitment measure.

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  • UCAS points

    There is no particular reason why UCAS points should not be one (of a number) of measures which a firm can use in assessing candidates. It is however patently ridiculous to have a "diversity drive" to seek applicants from Universities where 99% of students will not have AAB at A-Level if recruitment policies automatically rejects these same candidates on the basis of those grades (which for the majority of firms it will). It is also absurd to suggest that a lack of candidates from these Universities is because of a lack of aspiration. If firms are not willing to take factors other than A-Level grades into account then this scheme is totally meaningless and nothing more than a PR stunt.

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  • UCAS points

    I actually do know what the majority of my peers achieved at A-level and also which university they went to and what they studied there - if you don't know this then it shows that you never talk to your colleagues! Also, I wasn't for a second suggesting that it should be the only measure used to judge whether to recruit a particular individual, otherwise how would any firm possibly distinguish between candidates with the same number of points?! However, I think that firms are justified in using all the information available to them and if you have a weakness in your application in terms of UCAS points then the other areas of your application will, rightly, have to be that much stronger to give you a chance of sucess, if this isn't the case then you are unfairly treating those who did manage to achieve good A-level results. I also think that at 17 you are very close to being an adult and therefore you ought to appreciate the importance of these exams and realise that the results will impact upon the rest of your life...if you fail to do this and don't work as hard as you can to get the best results you can then you are hardly in a position later to complain about firms not giving you a job because they are using an 'unfair' measure such as your A-Level results!

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  • It is the attitude of the firms!

    As some have said it's the attitude the firms have towards Non-Russell unis that keep 'em away from top city firms...That's not going to stop me though...but I do agree this is just an attempt for good press and attempt to make a sign of "we do welcome diversity!!" although they don't. I still applied and hopefully will get a place.

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  • With regards to the posting accusing those with low A-level results as, "hardly in a position later to complain about firms not giving you a job..." I think this illustrates some of the narrow minded attitudes in the legal profession today. There are many reasons why students do badly in their A-levels: personal problems, death or illness of a friend or family member, physical illness or mental illness or even financial problems. It is not fair to label such students as lazy or unintelligent. Perhaps you were lucky enough to get through your A-levels without suffering any personal problems. Well done, you are very lucky. But that doesn't make you any more hardworking than those students who did suffer. In fact I would argue that those students who have risen from getting Ds at A-level to achieving a first in a law degree have worked far harder than those who were already getting A's because they have had to struggle that much more.

    It is high time that the legal profession dropped the bad attitude. Students who have turned their lives around and are now achieving high grades at university should not be sneered at, but should be applauded and recognised as the hardworking and intelligent people that they are.

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  • I am currently at Kingston University which as many of you might know does not have a particularly good reputation when it comes to Law.

    I do however disagree with some of the comments and I say that you can't really blame top firms to want graduates from top universities.

    People go to mediocre universities because they had poor results and unfortunately, results are a reflection of our knowledge and intelligence (not in all cases but in a vast majority of them).

    I do however believe that firms should consider ALL applications and not bin the 'bad' universities like, I know for a fact, they do.

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