Diversity in Law Firms
Diversity and Inclusion is a trending topic in the legal world today and for very good reason! Whether you’re a business hoping to improve diversity with your brand or a prospective employee hoping to join a firm in which you will be welcomed and supported; the conversations around D&I are prevalent across the board. With D&I being at the forefront of many minds in the legal community, it’s crucial to ask why diversifying is so important and what steps firms are taking to create a more inclusive space.
It’s no secret that firms who have a diverse workforce are more productive and full of varying perspectives. Hiring employees from different backgrounds means everyone is bringing different strengths and experiences which is a major advantage when looking for innovative and creative ideas.
A team that is rich with disparate backgrounds, races and identities creates a better reflection of society as a whole, giving law firms access to fresh new clients and giving their existing clients a more premium service. Studies have shown that a workforce built up of diverse backgrounds can also help provide clients with the reassurance that your team has similar experiences to them, which builds trust when developing long term relationships.
Although white men have historically dominated the legal profession, particularly in more senior and partner positions, research by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) suggests there has been an increase in women and BAME admissions in more recent years. In their 2021 survey, the SRA found there has in fact been a slow but steady increase in diversity within law firms when compared to their 2019 survey. Some of their findings show that women currently make up 52% of lawyers which is 1% more than 2019 and in 2021 the overall proportion of BAME employees in law firms was 17% compared to 13% in 2019. In fact, at the time of writing, the President of the Law Society of England and Wales is Lubna Shuja, a first generation Pakistani born in the UK – an incredible achievement!
So it’s clear that D&I in law firms is crucial for both social and economic success but you can’t create a representative workforce without candidates from underrepresented backgrounds applying to law firms. There are some fantastic diversity organisations such as Aspiring Solicitors, The InterLaw Diversity Forum, Rare recruitment and upReach who provide invaluable advice and career support for those from less advantaged backgrounds to attain top graduate jobs.
From the information collected by the SRA it is evident that the legal industry is taking small but steady steps towards becoming more diverse, to the advantage of law firms, clients and employees. However, there is still work to be done on behalf of larger corporate firms to create an enriching environment in which employees feel valued, respected and engaged in order to generate optimum results.
One of the unique advantages that QC Legal recruitment agency offers, is that given our team itself is full of people from ethnic backgrounds, we can not only relate to the challenges, but have demonstrated that in fact we can take the lead when it comes to broadening the people periscope. Our record in the placement of BAME candidates is virtually unrivalled. We’d love to hear your thoughts about diversity in law firms today and if you’d like to share your success stories please get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org.