Diversity Charter Biennial Report

Firms and practices who sign up to the charter are required to participate in the Law Society's Diversity and Inclusion Biennial Report which shows how well they are meeting their charter commitments and where more work still needs to be done.

Signatories to the charter complete an online, easy to use self-assessment exercise against the equality and diversity standards within the reporting tool. These results are then published in aggregate and used to identify trends, successes and areas for improvement for the year ahead.

Read the 2015 Diversity and Inclusion Charter Biennial Report (PDF 1.85MB)

Summary of the 2015 Diversity and Inclusion Biennial Report

The Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Charter, launched in 2009, has 467 signatories, ranging from small family firms through to the largest global legal practices - including 75 of the top 100 firms.

Key findings in the 2015 report

A platform for innovation – signatories respond positively to additional stretch

  • Leadership and vision, and employment and staff development – the two measures which, in 2015, have the biggest increase in stretch. Questions have more than doubled in leadership and vision and tripled in employment and staff development. This reflects the continued critical role each plays in retaining a healthy diverse talent pipeline and the capacity to translate this into a diverse partnership and inclusive leadership.

More firms are measuring progress

  • The number and proportion of law firms carrying out a Diversity and Inclusion Charter self-assessment has increased.
  • Ensure that the equality and diversity implications of new and existing policies, working practices and organisational culture are considered systematically and acted upon.
  • Commit to conducting equal pay audits and acting upon the results.

Size of firm matters, but some smaller firms have achieved top rankings

  • Firms with greater numbers of partners are more likely to have achieved gold status on the self-assessment

Diversity and inclusion is becoming business as usual – firms move from policy to practice

  • Firms are self-assessing against the leadership and policy making indicator less favourably than previously, but this is in the context of more being asked in 2015.
  • Employment and staff development, provision of legal services, engagement increased.
  • Diversity and inclusion is becoming an established part of the procurement process, firms are rating their monitoring and procurement process more favourably than previous years.

The gender pay gap in the legal profession is above average

  • The last reported gender pay gap within the legal profession is 30 per cent, well above the England and Wales average of 19.3 per cent.
  • Latest research indicates that male managers’ bonuses are twice that of female managers’.
  • Early indications suggested that the 2016 legislation will ask organisations, with 250 or more staff, to audit and publish equal pay findings. This will also require bonus payments made to be included in their published findings.

Firms are assessing impact

  • Just under half of top 100 and large firms can demonstrate that all new policies and practices undergo equality impact assessments.
  • 70 per cent of large or top 100 firms rating gold or silver for monitoring and review.
  • The Law Society is working towards developing an equality impact assessment toolkit for its members.

Firms showcasing change and innovation

  • The case studies submitted illustrate diversity and inclusion progress, embedding flexible working, the importance of flexing to retain and support a diverse workforce, the importance of engaging with both staff and communities and innovative ideas for informing the leadership and strategy of firms. Career development support and infrastructure continues to be an important focus for firms


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