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A&O is top 15 UK employer for social mobility

A&O has been ranked 13th in the Social Mobility Foundation Employer Index 2022. This is its fourth consecutive year of improvement, up from 24th place last year.

The Index - considered the leading authority on employer-led social mobility - is an annual benchmarking tool for organisations looking to understand how they are performing on social mobility and to identify areas for improvement.

Earlier this year, A&O welcomed its first cohort of six solicitor apprentices. The six-year programme provides an alternative route to qualifying as a lawyer for students who choose not to go to university for a variety of reasons, including financial. The scheme was Highly Commended in the Social Mobility Awards 2022, and applications for the 2023 programme open on Friday 16 December.

This year, A&O also launched a Social Mobility Network - alongside its existing partner-led Working Group - to provide a forum to discuss how it can address relevant issues faced by colleagues from lower socio-economic backgrounds entering, developing and progressing in the legal industry.

A&O’s managing partner, Gareth Price, said: “Addressing social mobility is a priority for us and while we have made good progress, we know the work is not yet done.

“We want to continue to bring issues associated with social mobility to the forefront of our agenda and develop new, creative and meaningful opportunities to get more talented people from diverse backgrounds into the firm, and to help them to get on, with the hope that they will stay with us for the long-term.”

As part of the advisory board for the City of London taskforce on socio-economic diversity, Gareth Price contributed to the Breaking the Class Barrier Report which makes recommendations to government, regulators, sector bodies and employers and proposes a pathway to boost socio-economic diversity at senior levels in UK financial and professional services.