LSB to quiz all lawyers on parents’ education

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  • Maybe the better question for lawyers when looking at social mobility shouldn't be about where their parents attended university but whether or not their parents attended university.

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  • Why should where your parents go to university have any bearing on how good you are as a lawyer? This is a ridiculous waste of time and effort by the LSB. Parental university choice is only one factor in a child's education. It's a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

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  • @middleclassandproudof it
    I think you've missed the point of this initiative. As I understand it, this is a monitoring exercise rather than a prescriptive initiative which will scare the Daily Mail. I for one will be very interested in seeing whether all the diversity credentials of the big City firms will stand up under class scrutiny, especially the Magic Circle. I hope that the LSB will also be asking lawyers whether they were schooled in the state or independent sectors and how that plays out at Partner level.

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  • Presumably we will have the option of ticking a box that says "It's none of your business"?

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  • My parents never went to university, neither did my older siblings but I did.
    This is all about class indication, encouraging those from lower class background to move up the social hierarchy.
    My question is whether this will actually help improve anything or whether it could be open to abuse? What about if firms refuse to take part? Will the LSB name and shame?
    Firms are doing a lot more to encourage social diversity, but a lot more needs to be done. This move, while admirable, is a drop in the ocean

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  • City law firms are full of very average (and frequently, not very nice) people . The number of truly 'exceptional' individuals in City firms is very low and in truth they often don't do well as they make others feel threatened.
    The work of a City lawyer generally requires an IQ of no more than 110, and little or no creativity, originality or insight.
    Most of those very average City lawyers have close relatives who are lawyers, business owners, accountants etc. There should be a simple rule: you cannot become a City lawyer if any close relative fits into one of these categories.
    Such a rule will have zero impact on the output of the firms, but a drastic one on social mobility.

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  • I echo this:
    "Presumably we will have the option of ticking a box that says "It's none of your business"?"

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  • The one good thing about the current situation is that it concentrates a large amount of unpleasant people in one profession, thereby limiting the amount of contact that the rest of the population need have with them.

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  • This plan to improve "social diversity" appears to overlook the possibility that if both parents went to uni they might just have more able and intelligent children. It is therefore inevitable that those children will be over represented in the more academic professions, such as the law.
    The only way to reverse this would be to discriminate against those children on the grounds of who there parents were, rather judging them on merit. I thought that this sort of discrimination was precisely what we were trying to avoid

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  • How does this assist in monitoring social mobility today?
    Neither of my parents went to university but I am a white middle class male who went to public school and I now work in a top 10 firm.
    All it demonstrates is that my parents moved up the social ladder before I started school and long before anyone cared about whether law firms were sufficiently diverse.

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  • Thick daddy-bought-me-a-pony types tend to cluster in City firms. Backward daddy-bought-me-a-pony types tend to cluster in PR, employment agencies and the 'family firm'.
    Twas always so.

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  • Who is paying for this communistic nonsense. I thought labour lost the election? Why is it anyone's business what level of eduation my parents attained?

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  • We're doing the same thing in truck driving. Every truck driver is to be asked whether their parents went to university, in an attempt to identify the imbalance we think has already crept into the profession. In truck driving we need to attract more people that do have university educated parents and to encourage them to take up a profession that doesn't involve driving a desk all day. We're hoping to really increase the social mobility of people from university educated families into challenging and useful professions (truck driving, plumbers, electricians etc.) they've perhaps never aspired to before. Glad to hear you lawyers are doing the same thing.

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  • I intend to file the survey in the same round filing cabinet as I did that thing a few years back which asked if I was a traveller of Irish heritage.

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  • What's that braying and honking and spluttering? It's the wonderful sound of the privileged classes trying to defend their privilege and pretending they're in well-paid City jobs on merit alone. Keep the drawbridge up and don't let any light in. Anything else would be 'communistic'.

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  • I see this has attracted the attention of Big Brother Watch http://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/home/2011/02/when-they-say-its-not-about-social-engineering-thats-exactly-when-its-about-social-engineering.html

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  • I, like several other posters, am the private school educated lawyer child of parents who didn't attend school past the age of 15 - my parents worked extremely hard and sacrificed much to provide me and my siblings with the education and opportunities they didn't have and couldn't have had. Does a question about my schooling say anything about me, or everything about the generations preceding me?

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  • @ Anonymous | 15-Feb-2011 12:45 pm - Perhaps you should read the TITLE of the article before commenting.

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  • I don't have a problem with answering the questions, but I don't see how it help? My Mum was a nurse and went to nursing college and my Dad left school at 15 to set up what is now a successful business.
    I was privately educated, Russell Group Uni and Top 10 firm... does that mean I am socially mobile? No, my parents worked hard and I did too.

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  • Both my parents are artists who didn't go to university. I was the only one of my peers with this background (of 120 in the first year LLB intake at my university, which is one of the oldest universities in the world, 17 were from the same private school).
    It would be absolutely wrong to say that the fact that my parents didn't go to university did not affect me adversely throughout my years of study and entering the profession thereafter. Not intellectually (I got a 2.1 Hons degree), but solely in terms of confidence. I felt like an outsider. I could assume nothing. I knew nothing about upper middle class networks. Most of my peers had connections that helped them get plum roles; I had to learn the hard way how to network, how to project confidence, and how to bluff. I had the capability, but not the tools.
    This research is hardly Marxist (what an absurd suggestion!) and nor is it social engineering; to whoever suggested that the children of parents who went to university are going to be more intelligent anyway, you should be ashamed of yourself (and I take personal offence). It will, I hope, give statistical legitimacy to what most of us already know: confident children of middle and upper middle class parents are vastly over-represented in the profession, to its deriment, and to the exclusion of equally talented and intelligent candiates from less privileged backgrounds.
    In the interests of full disclosure, I should add that I no longer work as a lawyer; I'm a senior manager with a US corporation. I now have all the confidence I need.

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