Inclusion and CSR

At Macfarlanes, we are committed to the creation of a culture of fairness.


/ˈəʊpən/ people
The ethos that makes us who we are

For us, a fair culture is one which respects the contributions which can be made by talented people from all backgrounds – people with differing views and experiences. It’s also about providing an inclusive and supportive working environment. We firmly believe that our culture significantly enhances our ability to provide a service of quality to our clients.

This culture of fairness underpins our recruitment practice and guides our policies in relation to the development and retention of our people. They are our biggest asset and vital to our continued success. Our objective is to develop our next generation of lawyers from an even wider talent pool. Our clients come from a range of backgrounds and cultures and it is important that our people do too.


As part of our commitment to diversity and to enable us to attract people from all sorts of backgrounds, we have partnered with a number of programmes. These include:


Aspiring solicitors

We have recently partnered with Aspiring Solicitors to enable us to reach students from a variety of backgrounds across a wide spread of universities. Aspiring Solicitors aims to increase diversity in the legal profession and educates and informs the next generation of the legal profession about the importance of diversity. We have people across the firm working with Aspiring Solicitors through their Professional Ambassador scheme, Springboard events and tailored Macfarlanes events for Aspiring Solicitors members.

Business Disability Forum

The firm has recently become a member of the Business Disability Forum (BDF) which aims to improve the experiences of those with disabilities 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 people, our clients and our contacts who have short or long-term health conditions or disabilities.

Pathways to Law

Our relationship with Pathways to Law allows us to offer work experience to students from under-represented backgrounds. Pathways is an innovative widening participation initiative to provide opportunities for students from state schools in England who are interested in a career in law and will be first generation attendees at university. Established by The Sutton Trust, the programme targets students from under-represented backgrounds and provides support throughout years 12 and 13, and beyond into university.


We are signatories to PRIME commitment, a commitment by the legal profession to provide fair access to high quality work experience to students from less privileged backgrounds. As a PRIME member we are actively trying to ensure that anyone who wants to enter the world of law has an equal chance to do so, regardless of their background.

Rare Recruitment

We have worked with Rare Recruitment for several years as part of our ongoing commitment to diversity. Rare provide access, training and mentoring for outstanding students from black and other ethnic minority communities and their mission is to help the best employers in the world build workforces that reflect society’s diversity. Our partnership allows us to attract and recruit the best people from every background.


We have recently partnered with upReach a social mobility charity who work with less advantaged students from across the UK to realise their potential and secure graduate roles with leading UK employers. upReach offers its members (called associates) access to a comprehensive range of opportunities and activities to broaden their horizons, understand career pathways and develop the skills, networks and experiences needed for career success.

City Solicitors Horizon

City Solicitors Horizons improves access to the legal profession for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The initiative allows students to take part in a three year programme whilst undertaking their undergraduate degree. Students benefit from training sessions, mentoring and work experience. We are pleased to provide mentoring support and the opportunity for students to visit Macfarlanes and learn more about City law.


In addition to our partnerships, we have adapted our recruitment processes to ensure that we recruit the best candidates regardless of their background. We do not have any preconceptions about who you are or where you’re from. We want people who are academically strong, with determination and drive. For us, it’s your potential that really counts.

Application blind

We were one of the first law firms to ensure that the vast majority of our assessment processes for both our vacation schemes and training contracts are scored application blind. This means that, aside from parts of the process which require a review of your application , such as the application interview itself, you will be assessed by people who must judge your candidacy based on your actual performance on the day. We believe this promotes greater fairness.

Contextual recruitment system

We adopted Rare’s contextual recruitment tool to help us understand each applicant’s achievements in the context in which they have been gained. We understand that not every candidate’s achievements look the same on paper and we want to recruit the best people, from every background. This helps us to promote meritocracy and diversity in our candidate selection process. 

Corporate social responsibility

CSR is a fundamental part of our firm’s culture and integral to our belief that every person should have access to justice. We believe in our wider responsibilities to the communities in which we live and work and also to the environment around us. We strongly encourage all members of staff to support our various initiatives throughout the year. To find out more, visit our Corporate social responsibility page.

Sarah-Louise Fernandez

Solicitor, Litigation

"One of the most beneficial things I did was to participate in the Pathways to Law programme during sixth form."

Read Sarah-Louise's profile