Social Mobility And Education

Celebrating diversity and operating in an inclusive manner are core elements to ensuring we remain a successful firm. We know that for our business to thrive and for us to reach our ambitions, we depend on having diverse talent with a range of backgrounds, skills and capabilities. We view diversity as one of the key enablers that helps our business to grow and our values, purpose and standards set the conditions for us to respect the unique contribution each person brings.

Our efforts to champion diversity and inclusion across our business are supported by a range of dedicated employees irrespective of background, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. We ensure that our recruitment process for work placements, modern apprentices, experienced hires promote social mobility and enable access for all. Many of our lawyers are involved in mentoring those who seek to be the best they can be. We also support a number of educational institutions through tutoring, lecturing and examining.

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Widening access
  • BAME:  we are working with the Princes Trust to develop an annual conference for socially excluded and BAME pupils at Glasgow state schools.
  • Diversity: we are members of the 30% Club, a global campaign to increase gender diversity at board / senior management levels.  Our board is 60% women.
  • Pilot Apprenticeship programme:  we are participating in this with the Law Society and Robert Gordon University.  The programme is designed to widen access by offering apprenticeships as a route to qualification as a solicitor. 
  • Whizz-Kidz: this charity supports young wheelchair users in Scotland, helping them lead a fun and active childhood, while preparing them for an independent future.  In 2019 we provided placements to two wheelchair users.
  • Rare Contextual Recruitment system:  this system identifies potential future lawyers from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. This year, our shortlist comprised 27.5% of graduates from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, with 40% being offered traineeships.  We are one of only three legal firms in Scotland using this system.
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Work placements

We offer unpaid work experience to secondary school pupils in 5th/6th year who are considering studying law at university. Selection is done fairly using a standard application form and results in at least 15 people a year being offered a week's experience covering a variety of legal disciplines. We promote this program actively and combine it with school visits and other initiatives (including our support for the Scottish Schools Law Project) to inspire and encourage aspiring lawyers, as well as to increase the diversity of the profession.

Learn more about our work experience and placements here.

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Modern apprentices

Wherever possible, we will seek to recruit  18 - 25 year olds through an apprenticeship scheme and help establish them onto a career path. We have recruited at least 12 Modern Apprentices over the last six years and have given them the opportunity of a structured training programme which leads to a recognised qualification. We give them a salary consistent with that recommended by the Living Wage Foundation (not minimum wage) and offer them permanent contracts and full benefits. Once qualified, they will receive an automatic salary increase.

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Volunteering

We would like to encourage employees to participate in worthwhile activities based in the local community. To support this, the Firm has a policy which invites the chosen "charity of the year" to highlight any suitable volunteering opportunities. Employees can have one paid day per year to volunteer for activities organised by the firm.

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Mentoring
  • We are working with MCR pathways, a national charity, who work with care experienced young people to get them into positive destinations.  Their results are excellent.  They train mentors and pair them up with young people in schools, and the mentor works with them to develop a pastoral-type relationship encouraging them to reach their ambitions.  The published statistics show that when compared to their peer group they do better than the national average in every indicator. We currently have 5 trained mentors.
  • Paul Geoghegan volunteers as a mentor for law students at Napier University.
  • Gail Watt and Anna Maitles both mentor for the Law Society of Scotland. Gail also mentors for Women in Renewable Energy Scotland (WiRES).
  • Innes Clark is involved with "Very Impressive People" which is a mentoring programme aimed at students who went to local authority schools.
  • Austin Flynn lectures to delegates at Business Gateway's 'Gateway to Investment' programme three times a year. He is a mentor for the charitable 'Dragons' Glen' fund-raising competition run by Children 1st. The competition involves teams from local businesses and educational establishments being provided with £500 seed capital by Children 1st which they then use to found a business from which all profits generated go to the charity.
  • Julie Nixon mentors a member of staff at Napier University's Bright Red Triangle.
  • Gail Watt is mentor for the Napier University scheme.
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Education
  • Richard McMeeken is the lead tutor for the commercial litigation elective on the Diploma at the University of Edinburgh.
  • Alan Delaney lectures and tutor's employment law on the Diploma in Legal Practice at Edinburgh University.
  • Innes Clark is involved in lecturing at Edinburgh and Napier Universities. This involves lecturing law students at both universities focusing on practical aspects of employment law. In addition, Innes lectures human resource management students on employment law issues at Napier University.
  • Morton Fraser continues to support The Schools Law Web, which helps to provide materials on the law in Scotland to support teachers in classroom teaching.
  • Jennifer Thomson is a Trustee of the School Mock Court Case Project, a registered charity. She is the Principal Tutor for the Senior Schools' project. The course gives students an insight into delivering a client-centred legal service, bespoke to the public sector. Ruth also tutor Professional Skills and Responsibility. The course includes tendering, communication and commercial awareness.