Race Equality Awards 2016 - Recruiting Diverse Talent (private org) - Hogan Lovells

Ladder to Law

Hogan Lovells recognises the need to reflect the diversity of the UK population and clients frequently request diversity figures. The firm wants to employ the best graduates, but the first step towards this is getting young people into top universities and ensuring they are well-informed about what a career in law entails, including those from economically disadvantaged and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

Ladder to Law was launched in  2010 with the aim of giving school age students the information, support and encouragement to consider a career in law. The programme works in schools with high percentages of pupils on free school meals and who are the first in their families to go to university. In 2016, 85% of students on Ladder to Law are BAME


The programme works with Year 9 to 13 students in 12 schools and offers tailored activities designed for each year group. These include workshops, open days, work experience programmes, university visits and mentoring programmes. Hogan Lovells constantly monitors the interaction with key schools to ensure the right partnerships are in place.

Since 2012, Hogan Lovells has worked in partnership with Vodafone on the Year 12 work experience programme. Vodafone lawyers host students for work shadowing, facilitate negotiation skills workshops and commercial case studies, and participate in panel discussions alongside Hogan Lovells' lawyers at both organisations' offices. These sessions allow students to better understand life as a lawyer from the perspective both of in-house counsel and a law firm servicing clients.

Three partners and three Senior Associates participate in the Year 12 mentoring scheme, where they provide four one-to-one sessions with their mentees. Mentors receive a briefing session and guide book with clear objectives. Ladder to Law is also included in Hogan Lovells' Global Citizenship Policy, allowing colleagues to participate and be recognised for their involvement.


375 students have taken part in Ladder to Law workshops, open days and work experience programmes at Hogan Lovells offices since 2010. The percentage of BAME hires at Hogan Lovells has increased from 9% in 2010 to 20% in 2015, and 41% of students on the 2016 summer vacation scheme are BAME.

This year, Hogan Lovells also introduced contextual recruitment for the Year 12 programme to reach students from truly disadvantaged backgrounds. Of the 20 students currently on the programme, 16 are from backgrounds of significant disadvantage.

In 2015, the programme expanded further in partnership with Rare Recruitment, working in 14 schools in Birmingham, Cambridgeshire, Leicester and London. Since the expansion Hogan Lovells in collaboration with Rare Recruitment has met 900 students through the workshops run at the partner schools for 2015/2016. Hogan Lovells has also recruited nine Rare Recruitment students onto training contracts and hosted 23 students for a vacation scheme.