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Proportion of solicitors with BAME backgrounds closely mirrors general population

18 October 2016

More than 50 per cent of solicitors in England and Wales are from the first generation of their family to attend university - underpinning the growing social mobility in the solicitor profession, according to the Solicitor Profession Diversity Profile data for 2015 released in full by the Law Society of England and Wales today.

Law Society president Robert Bourns said: 'The solicitor profession is becoming increasingly diverse, with more women than men now joining the profession to make up 48.8 per cent of all solicitors.

'The proportion of solicitors from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, at 13.9 per cent, closely mirrors that of the general population. 56.7 per cent of BAME solicitors are women.

'Social mobility is gradually improving, with more than 50 per cent of solicitors coming from the first generation of their family to attend university.

'However, people with disabilities are under represented in the profession and at more senior levels we have a lot of work to do before we can say with any confidence that we demonstrate equal opportunities for all.'

Despite a steady increase in the number of women entrants to the profession over the last twenty years, only 28.8 per cent of partners are women. 11.1 per cent of partners come from BAME backgrounds.

Robert Bourns concluded: 'As the professional body for solicitors, we support progress for the best candidates, regardless of their background, so that our profession reflects the population it serves.'

The Law Society's Diversity and Inclusion Charter provides an opportunity for firms of all sizes to share best practice. Our Social Mobility Ambassadors and Diversity Access Scheme support and promote talented solicitors from all backgrounds. We are also helping firms to adopt fair recruitment and development procedures, as well as supporting them to address the gender pay gap and learn to recognise unconscious bias.

Ends

Notes to editors

Law Society diversity profile 2015

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Contact

Press office contact: Harriet Beaumont | harriet.beaumont@lawsociety.org.uk |