Breaking Down The Barriers: social mobility in the legal industry

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Breaking Down The Barriers: social mobility in the legal industry

Yesterday our joint head of Family Law Elspeth Kinder attended the launch of the Breaking Down Barriers project with two of our apprentices, Mehdi Daikh and Katie Wallwork. Elspeth had some very important words to say about the project and its work:

"Social mobility is a phrase often used by politicians and the press. Yet Britain has one of the poorest social mobility rates in the developed world. So clearly there is still a huge amount to be done to effect meaningful and lasting change.

"The legal sector can be perceived by some as being elitist and inaccessible. In the absence of a visible role model, a child may wrongly assume that a career in the law is not for them; because they haven’t been to a particular school, or they don’t speak like they think a lawyer should, or perhaps they don’t dress in a certain way. Yet law is about equality and justice. There is so much more that the profession can do to make the legal sector an accessible and realistic option for young people.

"The Breaking Down Barriers project was launched in Parliament today by Rt Hon. Justine Greening MP. I have participated in the project on behalf of JMW, sharing our ideas and learning from the experiences of other firms about how we can build on the opportunities we already offer to play our part in improving social mobility.

"Last year, when we conducted the biennial diversity survey for the SRA, 80% of those who responded in the firm had attended a UK state school. This statistic is reflective of our culture and our focus on supporting our talented staff, no matter their background. What I will take away from the project and the conclusions of the report are actions that we can implement to continuously improve how we operate for the benefit of our clients, our colleagues and our local communities.

“Two of our apprentices, Katie Wallwork and Mehdi Daikh, attended with me at the Breaking Down Barriers launch in Parliament today. I enjoyed a “proud mum” moment to hear them both share their stories of their routes into law with Justine Greening and the Attorney General! When we were chatting in our taxi on our way to the launch, Katie observed that she often pinches herself and wonders how she got to where she is. And as we left Parliament, Mehdi laughed at ticking off a “bucket list” moment. Both have earned their opportunities through hard work, determination and discipline. I'm excited to think how many other young people they will go on to inspire as role models for all that a career in the law has to offer."

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