Law firms are stepping up their bid to promote social diversity in the profession.
Baker & McKenzie and Hogan Lovells are the first firms to sign up to a contextual recruitment tool that monitors and analyses social mobility.
The system is believed to be the first graduate recruitment tool that helps firms to calibrate and quantitatively measure the social mobility characteristics of individuals.
Firms will be able to scientifically analyse their selection processes for potential biases and contextualise the performance of applicants.
Baker & McKenzie and Hogan Lovells plan to fully integrate the system in time for the 2015/16 graduate recruitment season. They will have direct access to social mobility data on all their applicants.
A report commissioned by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission last year highlighted a dramatic over-representation of those educated at independent schools and Oxbridge across the legal and political institutions who have a profound influence on what happens in the UK.
Elitist Britain? revealed that 71% of senior judges attended independent schools and 75% of senior judges attended Oxbridge.
Justine Thompson, inclusion and diversity manager at Baker & McKenzie, said contextual data was potentially a ‘game-changer’ for graduate recruiters.
Thompson said: ‘Over the years I have seen a number of candidates whose academic achievements appear “borderline” on paper when, in reality, their grades were achieved in challenging circumstances and significantly outstrip those of their peers.'
The system, developed by graduate diversity recruitment company Rare, will depend on two databases – one of all 3,500 secondary schools and sixth-form colleges in England, and all their exam results since 2007; and one of 2.5 million UK postcodes.
The information, along with responses to other questions, will produce real-time contextual information on all candidates.