Graduates
The new scheme has seen its annual intake of 100 graduate trainees come from 41 different education institutions in its first year (Reuters)

Magic Circle law firm Clifford Chance has introduced a "CV blind" policy for wannabe solicitors to counter any Oxbridge bias.

Clifford Chance, one of the UK's leading law firms, said interviewers are no longer given any information about which university candidates attended, or whether they come from state or independent schools for final interviews.

"All they will have is the candidate's name for the final assessment," Laura Yeates, graduate recruitment and development manager at Clifford Chance, told the Independent.

The scheme has seen its annual intake of 100 graduate trainees come from 41 different education institutions in its first year – amounting to almost 30% on the number represented in the previous year under the old system.

"The overall object is to make sure we never lose out on talent, wherever it comes from," Yates explained.

She added: "We need to make sure we have the very best people spread out across the whole of the UK in terms of institutions."

The "CV blind" interview candidates are also scored on work experience as well as job-related placements on a more formal scheme.

The firm also told the Independent that 50% of the posts on its vacation schemes are reserved for candidates who come through an "Intelligent Aid" programme – where candidates write up 500 words on a topic important to the firm and follow it up with a presentation,

Clifford Chance said the scheme has attracted a third more "first generation" university students than the traditional route to recruitment.

The firm made the move after research by education charity the Sutton Trust revealed that a disproportionate amount of workers from Oxford and Cambridge universities and independently schooled backgrounds dominate the profession.