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Herbert Smith Freehills has been ranked 3rd in the 2021 Social Mobility Employer Index. 

The firm's achievement represents an improvement on 7th place in 2020. It also represents the fifth consecutive year that Herbert Smith Freehills has maintained its position as one of the UK's top employers for social mobility.

Published annually by the Social Mobility Foundation, the Index ranks UK employers for the strategy they adopt and the actions undertaken to create equity of opportunity so that talent from all backgrounds has access to the workplace, regardless of socio-economic background.

"For many international organisations the challenge to balance global programmes with the priorities of the local communities in which they live and work is not simple to solve. Yet, although we continue to climb the rankings because of our commitment to 10 Actions for Change, our mentoring programmes and our work with community partners, there is always more to do," says Alison Brown, executive partner at Herbert Smith Freehills. 

This year the firm was recognised for the variety of social mobility programmes offered and the extent of its outreach in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Highlights included:

  • offering a combination of in-person and virtual support for more than 400 young people through school outreach, mentoring and work experience programmes
  • creating employment opportunities for individuals through apprenticeship programmes and paid internships, with 63% of those in the 2021 intake coming from non-selective state schools 
  • partnering with organisations including PRIME, RARE, City Solicitors Horizons, The Prince's Trust Achieve Programme and Sussex University First Generation Scheme to deliver skills training, offer insights into careers in alternative legal services and provide interview technique training
  • delivering virtual recruitment days which provided access to our vacation schemes and client-led workshops deigned to help students understand and navigate the recruitment process across the professional services sector.

Brown concludes: "We are delighted to have achieved such a high ranking this year – but will not rest on our laurels. The impact of the pandemic on our school and charity partners cannot be overstated and it is only by continuously shining a light on social mobility opportunities across our industry and others that we will be able to effect real change."

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Alison Brown photo

Alison Brown

Executive Partner, West, London

Alison Brown

Media contact

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Mike Petrook

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London