A firm choice: law firms’ preferences in the recruitment of trainee solicitors

Pub. Date
21 May, 2003
Pub. Type

In the UK, of all the professions, law has some of the most demanding entry requirements and is one in which family connections and Oxbridge credentials ease the path to entry. At the same time, the popularity of undergraduate law courses at UK universities has rocketed in recent years and universities have responded by expanding courses. The result has been an increase in law graduates in the UK, particularly from new, post 1992, universities and in the number of young people pursuing a career in law. Partly because of the tradition of elitism within the profession, the growing popularity of law, as an academic subject and career choice, raises issues of access and equality of opportunity for prospective entrants. These issues have been addressed in previous research on a cohort of students (see Shiner 1997 and 1999), which found different rates of success in gaining a contract according to applicants' background and characteristics, including race and ethnicity, and evidence of bias in the allocation of the more prestigious training contracts in city and large provincial firms.