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Recognition in 2021 Social Mobility Employer Index concludes year of continued focus on social mobility at Freshfields

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (‘Freshfields’) has today been recognised in the 2021 Social Mobility Employer Index for its work towards improving social mobility and ensuring that those from lower socio-economic backgrounds are able to thrive and succeed.

The Employer Index, now in its fifth year, ranks UK employers based on their actions across the previous year (2019/20) to ensure that they are open to accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds, and showcasing progress towards improving social mobility. The Index is particularly pertinent this year, with the pandemic having acutely highlighted the need for ‘levelling up’ initiatives, with young people from lower socio-economic and diverse backgrounds among the most affected by a shortfall in quality employment opportunities.

The recognition concludes a year in which Freshfields has continued to progress its work around social mobility. Key initiatives include the launch of the firm’s Aspiring Professionals Programme (APP) in February, in collaboration with the Social Mobility Foundation, which seeks to support talented young people from social mobility ‘cold spot areas’, by offering 100 students a year the opportunity to get an insight into a career in the City.

This year, Freshfields also collaborated with the Bridge Group as one of 10 participating firms to understand whether, and how, socio-economic background affects progression to partner for their report 'Pathways to partnership: challenging the myth of meritocracy'. The firm also participated in the Social Mobility Pledge’s 'Levelling up Law' report, an initiative which aims to facilitate dialogue between City firms and non-Russell Group universities to bridge the gap to law firm opportunities.

Annette Byron, Freshfields sponsor partner for social mobility, said: “Our continued inclusion in the Index demonstrates the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and promoting social mobility. The Index has become a leading industry benchmark and it’s great to see that over 80 more employers have applied this year, adding to the pool of best practice in progressing social mobility.

“As a firm and an industry, we know that there are still improvements we can make to help us to level the playing field. The future of Freshfields relies on attracting and retaining the best talent regardless of background and we believe that, through teams with diverse backgrounds and opinions, we are better able to innovate and flex to meet the needs of clients into the future."