Fifteen City law firms have teamed up with former education secretary Justine Greening to create a social mobility action plan for the legal sector.

The partnership will see the firms working closely with universities such as Bradford, Staffordshire, Lincoln, York St John and Liverpool John Moore to create new routes from higher education into the legal profession.

The project will be led by Seema Kennedy, a former City solicitor and former MP for South Ribble, and will focus on schools, access and recruitment. Greening co-founded the national ‘social mobility pledge’ in 2018, alongside entrepreneur David Harrison, to improve social mobility in Britain.

Edward Sparrow, chair of the City of London Law Society (CLLS), said: ‘By working with university vice chancellors and sharing knowledge between law firms, we hope that this partnership will make a real and measurable difference in a post-pandemic world, where the importance of levelling-up access and opportunities will be more important than ever.’ 

Greening added: ‘Well defined purpose together with a strong culture and leadership have marked out those organisations which have taken the right decisions in response to the crisis, from those which have not. The challenge now, and one that CLLS member firms have stepped up to, is for Britain’s businesses and universities to play their role in boosting opportunity and social mobility as part of our national recovery.’

The past year has seen more City collaboration on the issue. Around 45 practices have signed a ‘race fairness commitment’ in order to improve racial diversity, while 13 City firms have joined forces to create a handbook to help solicitors talk about racism in the workplace.