At HFW, we firmly believe that talent and potential
should dictate success – not socio-economic
background. We recognise that the challenge of
improving social mobility and ensuring those from
lower socio-economic backgrounds can enter the
professions must be tackled early and so our social
mobility programmes start in primary school with
the aim of improving literacy. We work with
secondary school students and undergraduates
to increase awareness of professional careers,
improve employability skills and increase access
to work experience, and we have made changes
to our recruitment processes in order to reduce
barriers to entry.

Our partnership with Aspiring Solicitors,
participation in the City Solicitors Horizons initiative,
and the use of Rare’s contextual recruitment system,
are all also contributing to the positive outcomes
we are seeing. We are committed to making
further changes in order to continue improving and
ultimately to recruit more people from lower socioeconomic
backgrounds into the firm.

If you are from a lower socio-economic background, don’t think a career in law isn’t for you; it absolutely is!

Make the most of every opportunity available to you via Aspiring Solicitors and attend as many open days as possible to get a feel for which firm is right for you and to ask as many questions as possible.

Kathryn Hull, Senior Corporate Responsibility Manager

Social Mobility In Focus

  • What is HFW doing to attract candidates from lower socio-economic backgrounds?

    We keep in touch with our work experience alumni via regular emails updating them on organisations to sign up to e.g. City Solicitors Horizons and Aspiring Solicitors, bursaries i.e. LNAT bursary programme and HFW’s training contract, vacation scheme, vacation scheme and open day application dates.

    We host an annual networking evening so that our alumni can continue to build their professional networks and so that we can answer any questions they may have about a career in law. We are also currently piloting a mentoring programme for alumni members.

    We host two open days per year with students recruited via Aspiring Solicitors and we have given AS a remit to focus on attracting attendees who either come from a lower socioeconomic background, are BAME, and/or are LGBT. We also take part in the City Solicitors Horizons social mobility initiative, which includes mentoring and access to work experience and our vacation scheme.

  • What have Aspiring Solicitors members said about HFW’s open days?

    “I had a great time learning about the firm’s sector focussed business strategy within its various practice areas, which include shipping, insurance and aerospace.”

    “My favourite part of the day was the speed networking session, as I gained a real insight into various motivations for joining the firm and why they enjoy working for HFW in their particular practice areas.”

    “A fantastic opportunity to talk to trainees and associates and learn more about the niche areas of law that HFW specialises in.”

    “My favourite part was the application tips given during the workshop. I also talked to a number of trainees, which gave me a deep insight into the nature of the firm’s work.”

  • What further actions will HFW be taking to improve access?

    We are committed to improving the link between our outreach programmes and our recruitment pipeline now that a number of our work experience alumni network are at university. To assist with this, we have put in place a process to identify, during the recruitment process, any network members who apply for a vacation scheme or training contract.

    From Spring 2019, we will screen applications on a university and school blind basis, to remove the potential for any bias at the initial sifting stage.

    From Autumn 2019, we will be visiting a broader range of university law fairs. We have added a number of non-Russell Group universities in an effort to reach out to a broader range of students.