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Magic circle losing talent to ‘Oxbridge bias’

Law students from other universities believe they have 'little chance of success' 

17 February 2014

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

The UK's magic circle law firms are missing out on talent from non-Oxbridge universities because they are perceived to favour candidates from Oxford and Cambridge.

That's according to a survey of 380 law graduates, many of whom came from non-Oxbridge universities.

"Candidates need to feel that they can apply to the top legal sector businesses no matter what background they have come from, or which university they attended," commented David Press of Proceed UK, which conducted the survey.

The survey found that students from other universities are increasingly reluctant to apply to magic circle firms because they believe they have little chance of success.

This is despite efforts from firms such as Clifford Chance to break the Oxbridge recruitment bias through CV-blind interview tests.

Clifford Chance's diversity drive involves recruitment staff conducting final interviews with candidates with just the candidate's name.

The rest of the magic circle - Allen & Overy, Freshfields and Linklaters - recently said that they do not plan to introduce CV-blind interviews in future but are developing other diversity initiatives.

Proceed said its survey findings show that the "continued domination" of magic circle firms by Britain's top two universities has had "a clear impact" on the confidence of law students.




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