Latimer Hinks solicitors is demonstrating that top professions can be open to all.
Former minister Alan Milburn has chaired a social mobility study for the prime minister on widening access to high-status jobs. Among its conclusions, it says those entering careers such as the law and medicine are increasingly likely to be from affluent families, despite efforts made to open up the professions.
Policies employed by North East law firm Latimer Hinks demonstrate it has for some years now been breaking down what are perceived as the recruitment barriers highlighted by the report.
Partner Anne Elliott said: At Latimer Hinks, where we have a rolling programme, which involves taking on several trainees a year, we have always believed that opportunity should be open to all.
Here, we appoint on merit and are interested in the personalities and strengths of the candidates and what they know and not where they come from. Since the turn of the century we have employed a mix of people all from different backgrounds most of whom have been state educated.
None of the youngest partners, Andrew Way, Mark Clayton, Nicola Neilson and Claire Farrell, were privately educated. None of the recent intake of three trainees and none of the four former trainees (all of whom have all been retained as solicitors on qualification) were privately educated.
Anne continued: All of these individuals have worked extremely hard and been self supporting. Because of the expense of training and qualificationfive of them studied for their final exams on two year part time courses at the College of Law involving weekend study during which period they held down full time positions with us. We have huge admiration for their resolve and sense of purpose and tenacity their success is purely down to character, personality and hard work and it is just not true to say that law is still for rich kids.
Our experience at Latimer Hinks over the past 10/15 years is quite the opposite to that as projected by Alan Milburns report our solicitors are much less likely to be recruited from so called affluent families.