One way the legal profession can widen its appeal is by welcoming entrants from across society.
One of the most disturbing myths is that all lawyers are male, pale and stale!
The ‘male’ bit has changed to some extent over the last few years. There are about as many women qualifying as solicitors as men. But there remains a big difference at the top where senior positions are still dominated by men. In a 2011 survey most women lawyers felt that they were paid less than their male counterparts and this is probably true
Hopefully that will change as the women who have come into the law in the last ten years become a bigger influence.
It is interesting that the report on trust that I mentioned yesterday showed a particularly poor result in black and minority ethnic groups.
One very positive initiative here is the Law Society’s Inclusion Charter. Signatories to the charter are committed to a profession which is inclusive, by working together to develop recruitment, development and other projects which promote this agenda.
I have been proud to have my firm’s name included in the charter.
This is only a small step but it is something positive.
It was also encouraging to see the Law Society taking an active role in the London Pride Event in July this year. Law Firms – including EAD were also well represented at the Liverpool event last week.
But there is still a long way to go. BME groups are massively under represented in the law. This is one area where there needs to be a major drive to encourage students from these groups to become lawyers. This isn’t easy. It is hard enough to qualify in the law because of eye watering student fees, the recession and the abolition of a minimum salary for trainees. But there needs to be a particular emphasis on making it easier for talented students from all areas of life to become lawyers.
Maybe then we can say that we represent society as a whole. This again will do much to increase trust across the board.
Equality And Diversity