Social Mobility

Social mobility is important to the firm. Our work in this area is significant and forms part of our 2020 responsible business commitments.

Work experience opportunities

Our social mobility initiatives aim to improve the prospects of young people from less advantaged backgrounds, as well as ensure that the principles of social equality are embedded in our internal processes and how we attract and recruit diverse talent. We were one of the first firms in the City to implement a contextual recruitment system to identify candidates with the greatest potential.

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Investing in young people

We invest in initiatives that up-skill, inspire and equip young people for the world of work as they progress through school, go to university and take their first steps towards a professional career. Building on our strong connections with schools and charities, we have a number of ways we try to make a difference to the future prospects of the young people we support.

Literacy Support
Holdingimage Literacy
Literacy is crucial to social mobility. As well as our support of primary school reading schemes, we work with the National Literacy Trust, a charity that helps disadvantaged children and young people gain the literacy skills they need to succeed. NLT’s research has found that children born into communities with the most serious literacy challenges have some of the lowest life expectancies in England. We fund the National Literacy Trust’s annual literacy survey of 49,000 children and young people aged 8 to 18, the only one of its kind. It forms the backbone of the charity’s strategy and campaigns, as well as being used by participating schools to inform their literacy strategies. We fund Share a Story, which provides literacy resources that support the development of disadvantaged primary school students and are also a member of the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge, which sets out our commitment to help tackle the UK’s unacceptably low levels of literacy.
IFL Tutormate Lockup
In 2020, we introduced a reading support scheme for 5 to 7 year olds, using the online platform TutorMate. The scheme pairs young, struggling pupils from a local primary school with reading support volunteers who commit to a 30 minute reading session a week. Despite COVID disruptions, in the 2020-21 academic year Slaughter and May volunteers provided 32 hours of reading support. External evaluation has demonstrated that, compared to other children in their class, TutorMate boosts children's enjoyment of reading, strengthens their belief that they are good readers and sparks their excitement about the world of books.


Slaughter and may scholarship scheme

Launched in April 2021, the Slaughter and May Scholarship Scheme provides bursaries to high-potential undergraduates from less advantaged backgrounds. Working with social mobility charity upReach, the Scheme is an extension of the firm’s existing Law Springboard programme, and provides tailored leadership development opportunities in addition to financial support.  The firm has committed to fund three cohorts of 10 students per year, for three years of university study. The bursary will equate to £3,000 per student per year, representing a £270,000 investment over five years.

“upReach research has shown that balancing part-time work alongside study can hold back some high potential students from less-advantaged backgrounds. Financial support can level the playing field, helping students dedicate more time to achieving their academic potential, and participating in extracurricular activities that build crucial “soft skills” like leadership and communication - both of which can make them more competitive in the graduate job market.” John Craven, CEO at upReach

Case studies

Lead into Law

Working in partnership with diversity specialists Rare, we launched Lead in to Law in September 2019. This two year development programme provides twenty 16 to 18 year olds from less advantaged backgrounds who are interested in a legal career with work experience, insight opportunities, mentoring and university visits.

Rare recruitment logo


Rare Discuss

We sponsor Rare Discuss, an exclusive training programme for university students from less-advantaged backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a career in law.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to go inside some of the biggest law firms in the City to see what they do and how they do it. It was fascinating to talk face-to-face with lawyers at each firm, from trainees to partners, and to have the chance to see how each firm is different. Rare guided me through the application process. They gave tips on what to include in application forms/CVs, they conducted mock interviews based on each firm’s format.

In the end, I had interviews with three sponsor firms, and ended up doing summer schemes with two. I got training contract offers from both.” 

Evan, an associate at Slaughter and May