Oxbridge Recruits Dominate Law Firms
Robert Verkaik Legal Affairs Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
LEADING LAW firms are perpetuating the dominance of public school, Oxbridge-educated men among their senior lawyers, according to a survey published today.
Half of this year's new partners, recruited or promoted by the so- called "magic circle" of the five biggest London-based firms, come from public schools, while almost the same proportion have been to Cambridge or Oxford University.
Perhaps more startling is the fact that only 25 per cent are women and only 8 per cent are Asian or Afro-Caribbean.
The authors of the report, published by the magazine Commercial Lawyer, found that elitism was "unsurprisingly" alive and well among the City law firms. It said that not a single new partner made up this year by the top five firms came from one of the former polytechnics.
Outside these firms, the picture was similar. Only 26 per cent of new partners were women and only 4.5 per cent,fewer than in the magic circle, came from the ethnic minorities. Nearly half of new partners appointed at the 138 law firms that took part in the survey went to public schools. Just 4.4 per cent came from the former polytechnics. Looking at law firms as a whole, one-quarter of new partners were educated at Oxbridge.
The report states: "You still have a better chance of being made a partner if you had a private education. The odds are stacked against you in the legal profession if you went to a state school. If you went to an ex- polytechnic, you can forget the magic circle. …