The head of Clifford Chance in Sydney has told Lawyers Weekly that the firm’s Australian offices are considering whether to adopt a ‘CV blind’ policy to graduate recruitment.
The UK arm of the Magic Circle firm has changed the way it interviews potential clerks to avoid favouritism towards Oxbridge university students. The Independent revealed that staff conducting final interviews are no longer told the name of the candidate’s university or whether they went to state or independent schools.
Clifford Chance’s Sydney managing partner, Mark Pistilli (pictured), said the local firm is currently reviewing its summer clerk recruitment process for July 2014 and will discuss adopting the ‘CV blind’ policy.
He added, however, that the need to tackle university bias is not as critical in Australia as it is in the UK.
“Our current Australian summer clerks, lawyers and partners already represent universities from every state and territory in Australia ... so while university diversity is important to maintain in our graduate and lateral recruitment this year, it is not perhaps the major concern for us here.”
LegalWeek reported in 2010 that 38 per cent of UK graduates at Magic Circle firms were Oxbridge educated.
Since introducing the new interview process, Clifford Chance has recruited 100 trainee solicitors from 41 education institutions, an increase of nearly 30 per cent on the number represented in the previous year under the old recruitment system.
The firm has also found that the scheme attracted a third more ‘first generation’ university students than the traditional route to recruitment.
A 2007 study by education charity The Sutton Trust found that an Oxbridge education still dominates the upper echelons of a host of professions, including law, with 78 per cent of High Court judges formerly Oxford or Cambridge University students.