Leading City and international firms including Clifford Chance, Slaughter and May, Linklaters and Herbert Smith Freehills, have signed up to an online recruitment tool designed to open up the profession to candidates from 'low participation' schools. 

Vantage is an online portal for aspiring solicitors created by Rare, a graduate recruitment firm. Students and recent graduates input details about themselves into the portal, including their grades and social background.

Employers can then identify specific types of candidate by using up to 23 filter options, including ethnicity, grades and university type. Candidates from low socio-economic backgrounds will be flagged. For example, recruiters will be able to see if a candidate received free school meals. 

Ten firms have pledged to use Vantage to double the number of applicants from schools which do not produce many solicitors.

Some 2,000 students are currently registered on the portal.

Raph Mokades

Raphael Mokades

Raphael Mokades, founder and managing director of Rare, said he hoped Vantage would become the go to recruitment system for law firms, as UCAS is for universities. 

He said: ‘Our mission is not just to open access to rewarding careers for people who have surmounted a challenging start in life, but to make their talents and drive accessible to the employers who need them.’

Rare Vantage launch

Chetan Halai, Rare senior product manager, speaking at the Vantage launch

Linklaters partner Alison Wilson said: ‘Being an online solution, Vantage is not bound by geography and reaches an untapped pool of students – many of whom may not have considered or been aware of us in the past.’

The Law Society's Junior Lawyers Division chair Amy Clowrey said: 'Social mobility remains a huge issue within the legal profession. It is therefore promising to see both law firms and legal recruitment agencies taking diversity seriously and attempting to tackle this issue with positive actions which will hopefully ensure that aspiring junior lawyers, from all backgrounds, are not deterred from entering the profession.'