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Solicitors

Diversity

updated on 28 September 2021

The lack of diversity within the legal profession is a fundamental issue that all law firms, barristers’ chambers and law schools must address if they want to attract the best talent and ultimately offer the best services to their clients. LawCareers.Net’s Diversity Hub offers future lawyers an insight into the work that these organisations are doing to promote and implement diversity within the workplace and the legal profession as a whole.

 

"We recognise that diversity and inclusion needs to be core to our firm's culture and values and everything we do as a business because it fosters an inclusive workplace where everyone feels they belong. It helps us to connect with, support and learn from our clients and suppliers. It provides a way for us to engage with and represent the communities we are part of and to create a more inclusive and equitable profession." – Andy Stylianou, chair at Gowling WLG

 

Under the Equality Act 2010, there are a number of protected characteristics which are illegal to discriminate against. These are:

  • age;
  • disability;
  • gender reassignment;
  • marriage and civil partnership;
  • pregnancy and maternity;
  • race;
  • religion or belief;
  • sex; and
  • sexual orientation.

It is crucial that effective initiatives are implemented to address the issues relating to workplace diversity and inclusion within the legal profession.

In March 2020, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) published the diversity data it had collected from the law firms in England and Wales that it regulates every two years. The findings confirm that, despite the commitments made by law firms in recent years, the legal profession still has a significant way to go.

Recent steps include:

There are also a number of diversity organisations and access schemes working to improve access to the profession for aspiring lawyers from various underrepresented backgrounds, including NOTICED, the InterLaw Diversity Forum and the Law Society Diversity Access Scheme.

This Diversity Hub will be updated regularly to keep you in the know regarding what law firms, chambers and legal education providers are doing to remove existing barriers and work towards a more diverse and inclusive profession.