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'Oxbridge bias' affects law graduate confidence, Proceed UK finds

A recent survey from Proceed UK, an interactive online recruitment platform for law graduates and employers, revealed that only one in 10 graduates have applied for jobs in Britain’s top five legal companies, compared to over a third looking to regional and niche firms for their first role.

The survey was carried out amongst 380 law graduates, many of whom came from non-Oxbridge universities, and shows that the continuing domination of Magic Circle firms by Britain’s top two universities has had a clear impact on the confidence of these candidates.

This comes at a time when law firms are making their own efforts to improve diversity within their organisations. Magic Circle firm Clifford Chance, for example, has adopted a CV blind interview technique in order to address the “Oxbridge bias.” This involves recruitment staff conducting final interviews with candidates with “nothing but the candidate’s name for the final assessment”. The scheme has been well received within the legal sector, with many calling on the remaining Magic Circle firms to adopt the same assessment method.

Proceed’s David Press commented, “It’s important to ensure that our top law firms contain not only the best but also the most diverse graduates. Candidates need to feel that they can apply to the top legal sector businesses no matter what background they have come from, or which university they attended. At Proceed we are taking students from a huge range of universities and backgrounds and giving them opportunities to gain practical experience – either as a junior paralegal or intern - within the major law firms. We hope this will not only inspire candidates to be as ambitious as possible, but help the legal sector to achieve a more diverse workforce in the long term.”

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