The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

Diversity in the legal profession

and progression of early careers solicitors from lower socio-economic backgrounds, led by theBridgeGroup and involving eight City firms. The firm has a strong focus on attracting high potential talent from state schools and non- Russell group universities. BAME Norton Rose Fulbright impressed the diversity judges at the 2020 LCN Awards with its with well-embedded programmes. Judges Chris White and Carly Gilberg said: “With the firm’s emphasis on meeting diversity targets, work with Aspiring Solicitors and adoption of Rare’s contextual recruitment system, and focus on improving BAME representation, Norton Rose Fulbright showed us that they are serious about improving diversity and supporting their employees.” Aspiring Solicitors: increasing diversity through opportunities Since 2014, Aspiring Solicitors (AS) has become the largest and most impactful diversity platform in the legal profession. AS has assisted 4,500 diverse candidates secure training contracts and vacation schemes, including individuals who are: • Black, Asian and minority ethnic; • socially mobile (eg, from low-income families, received free school meals, state school educated or the first generation in their family to go to university);

Attainment for diverse talent at the entry level of the legal profession has gradually been improving in recent years, particularly among solicitors. While the senior ranks of law firms, barristers’ chambers and the judiciary are still predominantly homogenous, increasingly public is firm affirmative action and leaders are vocal about addressing this inequality. Increasingly, hiring candidates from a range of backgrounds is a leading objective for graduate recruitment teams at law firms and a priority for the Bar Council. The ‘NoBar to theBar’ initiative has beenpart of efforts leading to 15%of pupils of pupils fromblack andminority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Gender equality is increasingly becoming a realitywithin the junior ranks of both sides of theprofession, with around 50%of pupils and trainees beingwomen. A number of organisations assist diverse talent aspiring to enter the legal profession. Leading the effort are Aspiring Solicitors, PRIME, RARE, the Sutton Trust and SEO London. Below are some examples of best practices among firms keen to address the disparities in opportunity. Gender Baker McKenzie was the first major global law firm to appoint a female head when Christine Lagarde became ‘madame chairman’. It runs many affinity groups, including BakerWomen. Disability Twice winner of the Commendation for Diversity at the LawCareers.Net (LCN) Awards, Shoosmiths has been focusing on disability access, solidifying its commitment to being a government-backed ‘Two Ticks’ employer, which means interviewing all candidates with a disability who meet the minimum requirements. Social mobility BryanCave LeightonPaisner initiated a research exercise based on the experiences, retention


Sign up to


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online