Thought leadership on Diversity in Legal Practice

Posted in Blog on 19 Mar 2013

Did you see our MD, Kath Riley, in 19th March issue of The Law Gazette?

Kath was invited to The Law Gazette's Roundtable Discussion on diversity and social mobility; joining Lara Oyesanya of Barclays, Julia Chain of Huron Consulting, Eduardo Reyes of The Law Society Gazette, Margot King of Eversheds, Justine Delroy of Addleshaw Goddard, Debo Nwauzu of The BLD Foundation and Alex Shapland-Howes of Future First. The event was hosted by Eversheds in their City of London offices.

Although there has been no shortage of initiatives from the UK's largest commercial law firms to increase the diversity of their intake, as Julia Chain (Managing Director of consultancy Huron Legal and former General Counsel at T-Mobile) put it, "the profession is just doing very, very badly. We are in a situation where the numbers of kids from state schools, candidates from non-Russell Group universities and some ethnic groups who make it into our leading firms, are still tiny."

It was a lively debate that explored many issues, however the discussion did gravitate towards the issue of young people from less fortunate backgrounds and the removal of the obstacles to their progression.

Kathryn, our MD, confirmed the need for a conscious effort in this area; 'one of our candidates, a three year PQE Solicitor, was recently asked in an interview what her parents did for a living. In feedback, the candidate questioned the motivation behind that enquiry.'

The issue of women in law was also a hot topic. Although historically there has never been as many female Lawyers in the profession, within a decade women may actually be in the majority. There is still the feeling that there is a glass ceiling when it comes to progression past Senior Associate level.

It was an interesting discussion and it is one that is not going away. Change is coming but for some maybe it is not happening quick enough or with the full commitment of the people or organisations that have the greatest influence in the profession. You can judge for yourselves by catching the debate online  here!

Share this post