More than half of top partners at magic circle firms attended Oxbridge, new research on social mobility has revealed.

The Sutton Trust’s Leading People 2016 report states that 55% of the magic circle’s ‘band 1’ partners went to Oxbridge; while 43% went to the 30 ‘most highly selective’ universities (known as ST30).

Across England and Wales, 32% of partners who were UK-educated attended independent schools. This figure rises to 41% in London.

‘Marginally’ fewer partners at the UK’s largest law firms (50 partners or more) attended independent schools. In Wales, at least four in five partners attended state schools.

The Sutton Trust said it was working with law firms to increase the representation of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the legal profession through its Pathways to Law programme, which was set up a decade ago.

The report found that the proportion of High Court and Court of Appeal judges who attended fee-paying schools had remained ‘remarkably’ stable for a quarter of a century. However, there had been a fall in the number of judges who attended Oxbridge: 74% in 2015 compared with 88% in 1989.

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