Rare, a graduate recruitment specialist, has launched Vantage, a new online portal supported by leading UK law firms and designed to finally break the artificial barriers putting legal careers beyond the reach of many talented candidates.
Ten founding partner firms - Linklaters, Baker McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Eversheds Sutherland, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Macfarlanes, Pinsent Masons, Slaughter and May, and Travers Smith - have pledged to help Rare double the number of applications to top law firms from the UK’s 100 “high-low schools” within three years. Representatives of Rare’s ten founding partner firms also express their hope that Vantage will help them broaden their talent pools and ensure the UK’s legal services industry maintains its position as global leader. One in every three university students coming from an elite school and achieving an A grade at English A-Level eventually applies to become a solicitor. But many schools fail to supply any applicants at all, despite producing students with the requisite exam grades. Research by Rare has identified 100 “high-low schools” in the UK where only one in forty students achieving an A grade at English A-level goes on to apply to the legal profession - twelve times less than the rate from elite schools. But Vantage aims to change that, giving capable students a better chance of accessing great careers and helping employers open the doors of the legal industry to a wider range of talent.
Historically hidden talent
Candidates interested in a career in law can input their academic and personal information onto Vantage, allowing them to be approached by prospective law firm employers. The revolutionary new database uses advanced analytical techniques to match firms with historically hidden talent. The system currently has 2,000 high quality students and graduates registered and Rare expects thousands more to sign up by the end of the graduate “milkround” this autumn. Vantage enables employers to enter precise search criteria, with 23 different search filter options available, to pinpoint specific candidates or candidate groups. Alison Wilson, graduate recruitment partner at Linklaters, said Vantage “marries two key priorities for Linklaters: innovation and attracting diverse talent. Being an online solution, it is not bound by geography and reaches an untapped pool of students – many of whom may not have considered or been aware of us in the past. This, coupled with the tool’s robust and meaningful diversity and social mobility metrics, will enable us to offer help, resources and encouragement to those who need it most.” Raph Mokades, founder and md of Rare, said “Our mission is not just to open access to rewarding careers for people who have surmounted a challenging start in life, but to make their talents and drive accessible to the employers who need them.”