Slaughter and May is a Top 75 employer for social mobility

Slaughter and May, the international law firm, has today been ranked as one of the Top 75 employers in the Social Mobility Employer Index 2019.

The Top 75 UK employers who have taken the most action to improve social mobility in the workplace are announced today in what is believed to be the world’s only Social Mobility Employer Index.

The Index is the creation of the Social Mobility Foundation and ranks employers on the actions they are taking to ensure they are open to accessing and progressing talent from all class backgrounds.

Employers are assessed on everything from the work they do with young people, to their recruitment and selection processes and how people from lower income backgrounds progress up the ladder within their organisations.

125 employers from 18 sectors, who collectively employ over 1.1 million people in the UK, answered around 100 questions across 7 different areas. Over 14,000 employees also took part in a voluntary employee survey.

Slaughter and May has been ranked 40th in this Year’s Top 75 employers, improving on its ranking in 2018 which saw it reach 45th place.

Measures taken by the firm to improve social mobility include:

  • the launch in 2019 of the Law Springboard programme in partnership with upReach, which is designed to improve access to the legal sector for high potential undergraduates from less-advantaged backgrounds;
  • the launch of Lead in to Law, in partnership with London-based diversity specialist company, Rare in September 2019. This two year development programme is aimed at supporting Year 12 and Year 13 students from socially diverse backgrounds who are interested in a legal career;
  • being a founding member of The Social Mobility Business Partnership, formerly the Legal Social Mobility Partnership – a charity dedicated to supporting students from low income backgrounds;
  • a partnership with Central Foundation Boys’ School and education charity The Access Project to support motivated students from less-privileged backgrounds win places at top universities;
  • sponsoring Rare Discuss, an exclusive training programme for university students from less-advantaged backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a career in law; and
  • being one of the first firms in the City to implement a contextual recruitment system to identify candidates with the greatest potential.

Slaughter and May’s success in the Index is announced today at a launch event at the Francis Crick Institute.

Nilufer von Bismarck, Partner, said: “Social mobility is important to the firm. Last year we made a commitment to build on our existing initiatives and have since launched a number of new partnerships and programmes in order to create a pipeline for socially diverse talent from school-aged students to our recruitment activities, as well as deeper analysis of our recruitment and retention data.”

David Johnston OBE, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, said: “We are delighted to see more and more employers every year taking part in our Social Mobility Employer Index. The quality of submissions this year meant we have increased the size of our Top list from 50 to 75 and it shows the very wide range of organisations trying to make progress on social mobility. Whilst no employer would say they have cracked their social mobility challenge, all of the employers in the Top list – along with those that didn’t quite make it – should be congratulated for the efforts they’re making to ensure their organisation is open to talent from all class backgrounds.”

The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Foundation, added: “Social mobility is becoming a cause for more and more of our country’s top employers. When politics is weak, society needs to be strong – so it is welcome a growing number of employers are stepping up to the plate. They recognise the need to open their doors to a wider pool of talent both to address growing public concerns about unfairness and to reap the business benefits from having more diverse workforces. The onus is now on all of our country’s top employers to do the same.”

Kim Askew joins DLA Piper’s Employment practice in Dallas

DLA Piper announced today that Kim Askew has joined the firm’s Employment practice as a partner in the Dallas office.

Askew represents clients in significant employment matters involving claims of race, disability, gender and age discrimination and sexual harassment, as well as in complex commercial disputes including business torts, trade secrets, non-compete, and non-solicitation and employment agreements.

“Kim is widely regarded as one of the top employment and commercial litigators in Texas, and her addition to the firm bolsters our Employment team and supports our goal of bringing on partners with deep experience in handling high-profile matters of consequence, together with a strong track record of professionalism and success,” said Brian Kaplan, chair of DLA Piper’s US Employment practice and co-chair of the global Employment practice. “She has been recognised repeatedly for her accomplishments and distinguished service to the legal profession and we couldn’t be happier that Kim has chosen to join our team.”

“As we continue to expand our presence in Dallas, Kim will play a key role in allowing us to increase our service offerings and better respond to the needs of clients,” said Marc Katz, managing partner of the firm’s Dallas office. “She is well-known as an involved and enthusiastic leader in the legal and business communities in Dallas, and we are thrilled to welcome her on board.”

Askew, who joins from K&L Gates, received her J.D. from Georgetown University and her B.A. from Knoxville College. She is the recipient of dozens of local, regional and national awards for her achievements and contributions, including her groundbreaking work on diversity, from organisations such as the American Bar Association, State Bar of Texas, Dallas Bar Association, Dallas Women’s Foundation, the American Inns of Court, Texas Lawyer, D Magazine (Dallas 500), Lawdragon 500 and Best Lawyers in America.