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While it may not be the only cause to break out the bunting this weekend, the legal industry does have some reason to be cheered with the publication of a “progress report” from the deputy prime minister’s social mobility adviser Alan Milburn.
Indeed in some cases the legal sector is said to be “at the forefront of driving activity”, particularly through outreach programmes and the introduction of socio-economic data collection.
Milburn’s report commended many in the legal community, including the Inner Temple and the Legal Services Board, but it is perhaps telling that yesterday evening Milburn chose to attend a PRIME symposium at Allen & Overy to talk about his findings and commend the work of the industry-wide outreach programme which, according to his report, is “an excellent example of a sector-wide collaboration.”
Following the symposium, I spoke to Clare Harris, associate director of legal resourcing at founder firm Hogan Lovells, about the findings of the report.
She said the report shows that “when the legal profession puts its back into something, firms really work well together… no other profession has come together quite in the same way.”
Asked about Milburn’s comments on “slow progress” in the profession as a whole she responded “if more firms get involved and offer half their training contract numbers then we will start to see a difference being made.”
“At the moment we are getting the pupils through our work experience schemes, engaging with schools and engaging with parents. The challenge is to get parents to join in. The children need the support at home as well as in schools and the workplace.”
“In fairness no single profession can change the social issues of the country, but we can work with a reasonable number of children to give them access to the profession and in that way make a difference,” she said.