updated on 14 September 2023
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 wish to attract and retain the best talent, and offer the best services to their clients.
LawCareers.Net’s Diversity hub offers future lawyers an insight into the work that some organisations are doing to advocate and implement diversity within the workplace and the legal profession.
"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 that are illegal to discriminate against. These are:
Therefore, it’s crucial that effective initiatives are implemented to address the issues relating to workplace diversity and inclusion (D&I) within the legal profession.
In April 2022, 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.
What action is Gowling WLG taking to improve D&I?
“One of the firm’s global values is that “we all bring something different”. So, being an inclusive and diverse workplace is hugely important to us, and makes us more relevant and valuable to our clients. We want to enable, encourage and support everyone to be themselves and realise their potential. We understand the power that diverse perspectives and experiences bring to the firm and are taking actions to increase representation of underrepresented groups and to build a continued culture of inclusion which is why we’re delighted to sponsor the LCN Diversity hub.
“Our Inclusion for All D&I strategy through to 2026, brings this to life. We want all our people to feel included but importantly recognise that everyone has a role to play in achieving this. That's why all our teams across the firm have an annual Inclusion for All action plan, that details the work they’re going to do within their teams to move us towards our goals. This is in addition to the work we do at a firm-wide level.”
What’s the legal profession doing to improve D&I?
Recent steps across the legal profession 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.
Our 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.