Inclusion and CSR

We are committed to fostering an inclusive culture throughout the firm, from entry level to partnership.

It is about recruiting, retaining and promoting all groups in the firm fairly, and we have invested in our processes to ensure everyone has the same chance to develop and advance. As a firm, we also have a collective responsibility to the wider community and the environment around us. The firm’s CSR programme uses the skills and time of our people – associates and business services – to support disadvantaged communities, through providing practical help and financial support.

We partner with a number of organisations to attract and develop trainees from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Aspiring Solicitors

In 2016, we joined Aspiring Solicitors as an Affiliate Member which better enables us to reach students from a variety of diverse backgrounds across a broad spread of universities. Over the years we have run multiple events with Aspiring Solicitors and taken part in many of their initiatives. In 2018 we were delighted to win an All Star Diversity Award for our work on attraction events with them at their annual awards ceremony. In 2021 we began a mentoring programme for Aspiring Solicitors students in their first year of study to assist them in their preparation for applying to Macfarlanes.

Bright Network

We have worked with Bright Network for a number of years to help us find top talent. Over the years we have worked with them to help us attract underrepresented students. In 2021 we took part in Bright Network’s black talent in law programme where we met over 200 black heritage students who are looking to further their career in law. We have also delivered a range of skills session to help build the students’ employability skills.

Business Disability Forum

The firm is a member of the BDF which aims to improve the experiences of disabled and neurodiverse applicants and employees by creating a link between businesses, disabled people and government. The BDF provides advice, training and resources to help us develop the best possible approach to supporting our applicants and our employees who have short or long-term health conditions or disabilities. Further, the firm has recently gained Level 2: Disability Confident employer status.

City Solicitors Horizons (CSH)

Macfarlanes is one of the founding participants of this social mobility initiative. The aim is to improve access to the legal profession for undergraduates from less advantaged backgrounds. Undergraduates selected for the programme are provided with support over the three years they are at university. We provide several mentors each year for several students (selected by CSH) for the duration of their undergraduate degree. We offer each student a week-long work experience placement at the end of their first year. The programme is designed to help give the students the tools to submit successful vacation scheme applications the following year.


We are signatories to PRIME, a commitment by the legal profession to provide fair access to high quality work experience to students from less advantaged backgrounds. The relationship allows us to offer meaningful work experience to students enrolled in the programme who would not otherwise have this opportunity.

Rare Recruitment and Race Fairness Commitment

Our partnership with Rare Recruitment helps us to attract training programme and vacation scheme applications from young people from black and ethnic minority communities. We provide skills, networking and careers sessions for Rare Recruitment candidates throughout the calendar year. In addition to this we run a mock assessment day for high performing students identified by Rare Recruitment. In 2020, we were one of 17 initial law firm signatories to the Race Fairness Commitment (RFC). The RFC is data driven and commits us to measuring things like “application to interview” and “interview to offer” rates for different ethnic groups, as well as monitoring how people from different ethnic groups progress through the firm.

Social Mobility Index

Now in its fifth year, the Employer Index has become the leading authority on employer-led social mobility. The Index is an important bench-marking initiative that ranks Britain’s employers on the actions they are taking to ensure they are open to accessing and progressing talent from all backgrounds. The aim of the Index is to encourage firms to share their initiatives and progress in becoming more inclusive employers. In 2021 we were delighted to move 15 places in the rankings to number 52 in the index in relation to our social mobility efforts.


We are members of Stonewall, the UK’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans charity. Established in 1989, Stonewall has been instrumental in changing the legislative environment in the UK. We are part of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme which is the UK’s good practice forum for LGBTQ+ issues in the workplace.


In 2020 we started working with the social mobility charity upReach to support university students from socially mobile backgrounds to understand career pathways into City law firms and to develop the key skills required to be successful in our application process, build their professional networks and gain experience and insight into life as a City associate. We host two insight days with upReach annually and provide advice and support to upReach members (called associates) through the application process. This support takes the form of application advice calls, assessment day preparation calls and feedback throughout the application process. We also host a week-long work experience programme for ten high performing upReach associates during the summer. These associates will have the opportunity to network with people at the firm and to build the skills they need to secure a vacation scheme the following year.


We were delighted to be a founding partner of Vantage in 2018. Vantage is a database of sixth form and university students in the UK who want to be lawyers. It is searchable by employers using “precision searching”. “Precision searching” includes all of Rare Recruitment’s social mobility metrics, as well as academic performance at university, both absolute and contextual, and location. We use Vantage to promote our events to a broad range of students.

Women in the City Afro-Caribbean Network

We first started working with Women in the City Afro-Caribbean Network (WCAN) in 2019. WCAN is a social enterprise dedicated to the personal and professional development of black women. With support from firms they are able to give their members one-on-one mentoring, application workshops, interview workshops, networking opportunities, conferences, personal development sessions and training and support.