EDINBURGH law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has climbed to 11th in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2023, improving its position for the third consecutive year – up from 41st in 2022 and 110th the year before. The firm now sits in the top ten law firms in the Index.
Created by the Social Mobility Foundation and considered the leading authority on employer-led social mobility, the Index is an annual benchmarking tool for organisations looking to understand how they are performing on social mobility and to identify areas for improvement.
In total, 143 businesses and public sector organisations entered the Index this year, which assesses employers across seven key areas, including their work with young people, routes into the company, how they attract talent, recruitment and selection, data collection, progression, experienced hires, and advocacy.
Social Mobility is an area of focus within WBD’s responsible business framework and the firm has made great strides over the last 12 months.
As a pioneer in the introduction of legal apprenticeships, WBD employs around 40 apprentices and the firm was delighted to see solicitor Ellie Gadsby become one of the first apprentices to qualify via the Solicitor Apprenticeship route.
The firm, which holds a Gold Standard Investors in People status, has also launched a new “Insight” programme, which includes a variety of live webinars that students and parents/guardians can sign up to throughout the year to hear more about WBD, different roles at a law firm (both legal and business services) and routes into these careers, as well as ‘Forage’ – a programme which provides virtual work experience to young people who might be considering a career in the legal sector.
On top of this, WBD has started a new programme with Strive – a social mobility charity who source and develop talent from intersectionally diverse, socially mobile and under-represented backgrounds to help them realise their full potential. The firm is sponsoring Strive’s Supernova programme – a flagship scheme which supports aspiring commercial lawyers who are looking for vacation schemes and training contracts.
Samantha Lee, UK Head of Recruitment at Womble Bond Dickinson, commented: “Improving social mobility is a core element of our commitment to Responsible Business and DE&I at Womble Bond Dickinson, and we’re proud to be featured in the top 15 of this year’s employer list. WBD has developed a range of programmes and initiatives designed to opening up new routes into the legal profession and improving social mobility for people who want to pursue a career in law. Through our successful apprenticeship programme, the networks we are part of and the links we have developed with local schools as part of our work in the community, we aim to enhance opportunities, improve careers education and develop the skills for the future workforce.”