It’s one of the more bizarre facts about the legal profession. Statistically, there are more women than men entering the legal market –in England and Wales, at least. At 11.4% of all solicitors on the English Law Society roll, it’s also arguable that ethnic minorities are over-represented within the English legal profession, when compared with UK national population.
But visit any law firm or any legal conference, and what do you see? Often, nothing but white men. Why are there so few women or ethnic minority partners ?
Someone who’s thought long and hard about the challenges facing women and ethnic minority lawyers is Dr. Lisa Webley, one of the authors of a recent report on the subject. She’s spoken to a large number of those at the sharp end of discriminatory practices within the legal profession, and tried to uncover the problems they face during the course of their careers.
As part of the martindale.com Connected ‘Legal Luminaries’ interview series, Dr. Webley provided her views on camera. To watch the interview, click the image below.
The good news is that Dr. Webley and her colleagues discovered little evidence of overt racism or sexism among the lawyers she spoke to. The bad news is that many of the problems her interviewees identified were ‘structural’ – and could, realistically, only be tackled by the law firms themselves.
Lisa’s report is thoughtful, incisive and hopefully, offers some practical solutions which law firms can draw on to rectify their diversity problems. Click the image to watch the insightful interview.