Rare, the graduate recruitment specialist, has today launched Vantage, a new online portal supported by leading UK law firms and designed to finally break the artificial barriers putting legal careers beyond the reach of many talented candidates.
One in every three university students coming from an elite school and achieving an A grade at English A-Level eventually applies to become a solicitor. But many schools fail to supply any applicants at all, despite producing students with the requisite exam grades.
Research by Rare has identified 100 “high-low schools” in the UK where only one in forty students achieving an A grade at English A-level goes on to apply to the legal profession – twelve times less than the rate from elite schools. But Vantage aims to change that, giving capable students a better chance of accessing great careers and helping employers open the doors of the legal industry to a wider range of talent.
Candidates interested in a career in law can input their academic and personal information onto Vantage, allowing them to be approached by prospective law firm employers. The revolutionary new database uses advanced analytical techniques to match firms with historically hidden talent. The system currently has 2,000 high quality students and graduates registered and Rare expects thousands more to sign up by the end of the graduate “milkround” this autumn.
Today, ten founding partner firms – Baker McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Eversheds Sutherland, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters, Macfarlanes, Pinsent Masons, Slaughter and May, and Travers Smith - have pledged to help Rare double the number of applications to top law firms from the UK’s 100 “high-low schools” within three years. Representatives of Rare’s ten founding partner firms – including some of Britain’s most eminent lawyers – also express their hope that Vantage will help them broaden their talent pools and ensure the UK’s legal services industry maintains its position as global leader.
Vantage enables employers to enter precise search criteria, with 23 different search filter options available, to pinpoint specific candidates or candidate groups. From GCSE and A-level grades to university and degree type, Vantage tracks candidates’ academic achievements coupled with social mobility metrics. It also allows firms to find candidates by location, making the process of regional recruitment more efficient. Legal recruiters can then contact candidates directly about the opportunities they have available.
Rare’s pioneering contextual recruitment software is hardwired into the Vantage portal, enabling employers to measure academic outperformance. It allows firms to see, at a glance, not just the achievements of candidates, but the context in which those achievements were gained, taking into consideration several factors, including postcode, school quality, eligibility for free school meals, refugee status, and time spent in care.
Raph Mokades, Founder and MD of Rare, said: “We are extremely excited to bring Vantage to market and are hugely encouraged by the response from candidates and law firms alike. Our mission is not just to open access to rewarding careers for people who have surmounted a challenging start in life, but to make their talents and drive accessible to the employers who need them. Vantage is a remarkably powerful solution for law firms looking to recruit high quality trainees, apprentices and paralegals from all walks of life.”
John Whiteoak, Disputes Partner and Chair of HSF's Diversity and Inclusion Group, UK, US and EMEA: "Our clients boast a range of backgrounds and talent and their diversity is something we are proud to reflect within our own teams. With so many exciting career opportunities open to graduates, it is increasingly difficult to reach out to them. Our new partnership gives us the advantage of creating a platform to contact a wider pool of candidates more easily and demonstrate to graduates how we can offer the best opportunities to learn, grow and excel in their career."