Diversity and inclusion framework sets out how the legal profession can create lasting change
The Law Society of England and Wales has today launched a diversity and inclusion (D&I) framework to serve as a roadmap for workplaces to develop and deliver a strategic approach to D&I.
Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “From the high street to the Supreme Court, the legal profession must reflect the society it serves.
“There is often a leap to action on D&I – a sense of urgency to ‘do something,’ with a myriad of advice, schemes and checklists available. This can lead to activity that is reactive to immediate pressures, short lived or not properly resourced or recognised.
“This risks a lot of effort being put into initiatives that don’t ultimately improve diversity or boost inclusion in your workplace.”
Figures released from our annual statistics report 2021 found that while there has been some improvement with increasing diversity in the legal profession, there’s still work to be done.*
Solicitors from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds reached 18%, while Black, Asian and minority ethnic solicitors working in private practice increased by 6%.
However, nearly a third of sole practitioners are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. These solicitors often make the move to sole practice due to barriers to progression to senior levels at larger law firms.
I. Stephanie Boyce added: “Our D&I framework helps workplaces drive change by supplying a proactive three-step action plan that will help our members develop and deliver a strategy that creates lasting change.
“It has simple steps to follow, tangible actions to take and regular checkpoints to help workplaces monitor their progress. Whilst initially aimed at large and medium sized firms, it outlines strategic principles that will be applicable no matter the size of the firm, in-house team or organisation.
“It will help workplaces to identify their own rationale for taking action, set goals based on evidence from their organisation and ensure the change they’re seeking lasts.”
The framework will help to:
- establish purpose
- develop a plan
- ensure performance
I. Stephanie Boyce concluded: “We hope the framework will support workplaces to take a strategic and systematic approach to diversity and inclusion activity to ensure that the change they’re seeking to make is sustainable.
“This resource builds on our Diversity and Inclusion Charter, which was developed over a decade ago and has now been replaced by the framework to reflect changes in the legal workplace and the wider business and social environments that encouraged us to update our approach.
“This new framework is a roadmap for action that allows workplaces to create lasting change where everyone feels valued, respected, and safe.”
Notes to editors
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.
Press office contact: Naomi Jeffreys | 020 8049 3928