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15 June 20224 minute read

Celebrating Social Mobility Awareness Day in the UK

At DLA Piper, we know that diversity and inclusion isn't just about each of us having an individual voice, but recognising the collective power of bringing those many, varied and different voices together. The firm actively seeks out ways to harness the uniqueness of every colleague, and draw on our individual journeys, experiences and perspectives for the better. We recognise the value inclusion, equality and representation plays to our current and future success and delivering on our mission, to make better business, together.

Social Mobility Awareness Day is about raising awareness of social mobility and the work organisations are doing to drive positive change. As DLA Piper, we know that advancing socioeconomic diversity is critically important for our firm and sector. We are determined to and play our part in ensuring a person’s background does not dictate what they aspire to do for work, or where they end up in life. Law firms are in a unique position to drive positive societal change. DLA Piper has a long history of partnering with NGO’s, charities including the Social Mobility Foundation where we assess our actions using the Social Mobility Employers Index to understand key social issues and leverage our skills and experience to make a substantial difference. Through our community partnerships and programmes, recruitment practices and inclusion efforts, we support our internal and external communities to flourish.

To mark Social Mobility Awareness Day and as part of our support for the Socioeconomic Diversity Taskforce, where our partners Sandra Wallace CBE and Lord Mayor of London Vincent Keaveny have leadership roles, we are launching a series of videos which feature three of our exceptional leaders talking about their professional journeys. This series will create awareness around the barriers and opportunities for people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, reflecting on access and progression.

Laura Ford, Partner

I think I did have to prove myself more, that it was harder to prove myself. Firstly, because of my background. And secondly, because I’m a woman.
Watch Laura’s My progress story:

Ian Hagg, Director of Responsible Business

The fact that I have perhaps a different perspective to others around me has been valuable.
Watch Ian’s My progress story:

David Ampaw, Partner and Board member of PRIME

Surround yourself with people who are supportive of your aspirations and your career.
Watch David's My progress story:


In 2021, we carried out a materiality assessment to better understand our stakeholders' expectations, which included our own commitments to improving social mobility. Access to opportunity remains a key issue for the legal sector and we have responded in several ways to ensure we continue to be a leader in this space, including:

  1. Widening our understanding of the challenges some students face in entering and succeeding in the profession, enabling us to break down barriers and broaden access.
  2. Creating holistic and thoughtful programmes which support young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, given them practical support to help pursue a career in the legal profession.
  3. Diversifying the route to qualification by introducing alternative career paths such as apprenticeships.
  4. Proactively promoting the importance of improving social mobility through our senior leaders' participation in the Socioeconomic Development Taskforce.
  5. Including a socioeconomic diversity question in our employee engagement surveys to better understand how people feel about the culture at DLA Piper.
  6. Launching our Sustainability Report which sets out our actions and goals in social mobility.
  7. Launching the Future Leaders network, supporting the Lord Mayor of London, Vincent Keaveny in his ambition to promote social mobility across the UK.
  8. Setting our UK and International Diversity and Inclusion goals.

We also recognise that socio-economic background is intricately linked to other already protected diversity characteristics and see the benefits of an active and integrated approach to diversity and inclusion. In 2022 we will focus on developing our international social mobility action plan and working with clients and other key stakeholders on mutually rewarding social mobility activities.