Overcoming the diversity challenge
The diversity statistics above are truly astonishing. Firms are beginning to feel the commercial impact that their clients are understandably placing upon them if there is inaction towards workforce diversification. Law firm clients are already taking bold action; from automatically renewing the panel position for the most diverse Law firm they work with, through to clients withholding 15% of a Law firm's billings if they do not meet certain diversity targets. The pressure is mounting.
Diversity research clearly points towards some of the best candidates from underprivileged backgrounds performing less well in higher education but performing better than their peers later in their careers. In fact, a recent study in the UK suggests that candidates who attend low performing schools (bottom 20%) and significantly outperform their school peers were much more likely to perform better than the average Lawyer at their firm. This type of candidate is often referred to as an 'outperformer'.
The same study also identified that a high proportion of candidates that fit the profile of an 'outperformer' were less likely to be shortlisted than candidates that attended a fee-paying school. The evidence would suggest that the Legal sector is inherently bias towards factors in a candidate's application that may imply 'privilege'.
We believe pipelining diverse talent at the entry points of the profession, followed by retention of that talent, will be key to unlocking diversity at the top.
Dandi is here to challenge the status quo and do everything we can to promote a fairer graduate recruitment process, whilst showcasing the positive commercial impact that diversity could have on your firm (here).