Mishcon de Reya has given a training contract to the daughter of its Chief Operating Officer. She was rated ahead of thousands of candidates to take the coveted position.
Bambos Georgiou has been COO of the high profile firm since 1996. He is also a partner, though not a solicitor. Now his daughter has joined the business as one of around 15 first seat trainees.
Mishcon recruits all its trainees through its annual vacation schemes. Candidates must apply for a place on a scheme via a rigorous multi-stage process comprising an application form, two online assessments, a video interview, a face-to-face case study test and a face-to-face interview. Mischon has confirmed that the COO's daughter had to jump through all the same hoops as every other candidate, and there is no suggestion that she did not win the role on merit.
Still, it's not a great look for Mishcon. Most firms interpret the call for greater diversity and inclusion as relating to the poorer and less well connected candidates, not their own partners' kids. Many now impose a blanket ban on partners' children joining as trainees. Doing so avoids charges of nepotism, and awkward questions of influence which might otherwise follow partners' children as they receive their appraisals, seat choices or qualification jobs. A growing number of firms now go further, and run a 'blind CV' policy in an attempt to minimise the impact of bias, whether conscious or unconscious, in their recruitment processes.
Mishcon isn't alone in embracing its leaders' offspring: for example, Linklaters gave a training contract to its senior partner's son, who is now an associate there. But Mishcon does have considerable form for keeping it in the family, having also given vacation scheme places to a head of department's son and his best mate. And it certainly puts a new slant on Mischon's logo: "It's business. But it's personal."