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Freshfields recognised in Social Mobility Employer Index 2023

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (‘Freshfields’) has been recognised in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2023 for its commitment to driving progress in social mobility and has increased 13 places to 22nd position in the UK rankings.

The Employer Index, now in its seventh year, ranks UK employers based on their actions across the previous year (2022) to ensure that they are open to accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds, and showcasing progress towards improving social mobility.

The Index is a rigorous assessment of steps being taken by employers to ensure talent from all social backgrounds can “get in and get on” in organisations. A key findings report details data and insights gained from analysing index entries, and provides an overview of social mobility in workplaces that are already committed to improving on socioeconomic diversity.

A total of 143 firms entered in 2023, with the legal sector the most represented industry, constituting 36 per cent of entrants. Freshfields was highlighted for demonstrating a “real commitment to tracking students from outreach, all the way through to recruitment”, and as part of the firm’s internal advocacy, “plans to encourage colleagues from different stages to share their stories as part of [a] social mobility strategy is very positive.”

Global Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing Helen Ouseley said: “We are delighted to have increased our ranking in the Social Mobility Employer Index. Such recognition demonstrates our commitment to social mobility as well as offering us the opportunity to benchmark with competitors and other businesses and allowing us to identify areas for improvement. I would also like to extend my gratitude and thanks to everyone across the firm, including our network, who collaborate to continue to create meaningful change.”

Annette Byron, partner sponsor for social mobility, added: “It’s crucial that to identify, attract and retain talented individuals and create a pathway for them to realise their career ambitions, we continue to engage with leading organisations involved in driving progress in social mobility.”

The recognition aligns with Freshfields’ ongoing efforts to drive social mobility change in the legal sector and beyond, with firm commitments including:

  • Publishing firm data on socio-economic (social mobility) background for the first time within its 2022 UK pay gap report in line with research showing social mobility can affect access to the legal profession, people’s sense of belonging and rate of progression;
  • Freshfields’ Virtual Learning Experience, aimed at university students and others seeking to explore a career as a commercial lawyer, seeks to widen access to the legal profession. The open access virtual experience, created in partnership with Forage, upskills aspiring solicitors, while helping to build their knowledge of the profession with scenario-based training across a number of modules;
  • Ongoing work to broaden access to the legal profession including the Aspiring Professionals Programme and Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme;
  • Continued engagement for our Global Reverse Mentoring Programme from leaders and colleagues in the UK.