2015 winner

David Morley (Allen & Overy)

There are many reasons why David Morley is a worthy winner, but the reason that stands out is his profound commitment to the need to increase social mobility in the legal profession and his exceptional leadership within the profession in galvanising not only his peers, but also our clients, to collaborate in doing something practical about it.

When social mobility in the professions first came on to the political agenda, David was one of the few Senior Partners who attended all the meetings with the Law Society and the Cabinet Office in person and didn’t delegate discussion of the issues to someone else. He came from that golden generation of lawyers who were clever, state educated, got into the best universities and are now leading major law firms. He was very passionate from the outset about the need for us to take positive action to try to restore those opportunities for our childrens’ generation.

What set David apart was his realisation that the issue was too big for law firms to tackle individually. He had the vision to realise that if law firms collaborated together on committing to provide consistent and standardised quality work experience to young people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to secure it, a real difference could be made to the access and aspirations of those young people and increase the likelihood of their joining the profession.

The setting up of PRIME, the legal profession’s work experience commitment, could not have happened without David’s leadership, personal sponsorship and his ability to persuade the leaders of many law firms, large and small, to collaborate. Over 80 law firms across the country have now signed up to the PRIME commitment, and since PRIME was launched in 2011, has delivered weeks of quality work experience a year to young people who would not otherwise have that opportunity. That simply would not have happened without his exceptional leadership.

Exceptional Achievement By An Individual