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By Newsdesk

Wednesday, January 29, 2014.

Those responsible for recruitment in the legal profession should resist the urge to recruit only in their own image, says a leading independent professional organisation.

The Law Society says recruiting from the old school tie network or a limited range of universities makes it hard for many talented people to enter or progress in the legal sector. 

While the diversity of legal talent in the profession is increasing every year, the organisation believes this is not reflected in the number of those who become partners or leaders of law firms. For example, nearly 12% of solicitors are from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds, but these lawyers make up only 6% of partners. Additionally, women, who make up half the solicitors profession, represent less than one third of partners.  

In response to this disparity, the Law Society says it has produced a guide for firms that want to improve procedures.

Diversity and inclusion in law firms- the business case, focuses on small firms as well as the wider profession and offers clarity as to why it makes economic sense to have a diverse workplace.

 The Law Society is the independent professional body, established for solicitors in 1825, that works globally to support and represent its members, promoting the highest professional standards and the rule of law. Its Chief Executive, Desmond Hudson, believes there is a natural tendency for senior lawyers to recruit in their own image, but he argues this attitude builds barriers to many talented people gaining entry or progressing their careers in the legal sector.

“In order for a firm to keep up with the competitive market, it needs to demonstrate an inclusive workplace and robust diversity and equality policies,” he said. “Law firms that have good diversity and inclusion practices will have a competitive advantage in the long-term over those that do not.”

With the demographics of the UK changing rapidly, diversity is essential for law firms wanting to attract the best people and meet clients’ needs. In addition, corporate clients are increasingly looking to ensure their panel law firms match their values and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

 Mr Hudson added:

“We know, from direct experience as well as through extensive research, that if a firm has a good reputation for equality and fairness, it is more likely to attract good calibre candidates from diverse backgrounds when recruiting.  

“And with the ever expanding international market, it makes sense for law firms to have a wide understanding of language, cultural and religious influences.  

“The Law Society has a dedicated equality and inclusion team who are on hand to assist our members with any questions they have about progress in this area.”


Recruiters Must Resist ‘Natural Urge’ to Hire People Just Like Them

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