Law Society backs calls for step-change in socio-economic diversity by 2030
The Law Society of England and Wales has today welcomed the City of London’s socio-economic diversity taskforce final report with its vision that 50% of senior leaders from the financial and professional services sector should come from a non-professional background by 2030.*
Law Society president Lubna Shuja said: “Where you start in life should not determine where you end up. We are pleased to have contributed to the taskforce’s work to boost social mobility in the financial and professional services sector.**
“The taskforce’s roadmap sets out how employers can speed up progress and achieve equity of progression.
“The Law Society supports the five-point pathway of tangible steps that organisations of any size can take, alongside recommendations for the government, regulators and sector bodies who will support employers over the next seven years.”
The five-point pathway includes assigning accountability to senior leaders, data collection, taking action, setting goals and publishing data. The key recommendations for employers are:
- assign a senior leader responsible for socio-economic diversity
- collect data on employee socio-economic backgrounds within two years
- take action to increase socio-economic diversity at senior levels and monitor what works
- set targets based on data, considering the specific context, such as starting point, size, location, subsector
- publish data and what interventions have worked
These recommendations were supported by solicitors who fed in their views at roundtables hosted by the Law Society for the taskforce’s industry-wide consultation earlier this spring.***
Lubna Shuja added: “The taskforce’s vision is ambitious and their final report has important recommendations on how employers can take action to improve socio-economic diversity at senior levels.
“The legal sector is leading on diversity data collection, including socio-economic background, as this is mandatory for law firms regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
“We know there is already great work underway to remove barriers to entry and progression for solicitors from non-professional backgrounds.
“However, the picture of socio-economic diversity in the profession shows there is much more to do and we hope the taskforce’s five-point plan will support legal sector employers in driving change.
“The Law Society will be implementing the recommendations aimed at sector bodies, by continuing to work closely with the SRA and the profession on getting the best data and sharing best practice.
“Our focus will be on supporting firms to set their own goals for success and publishing their data in the coming years.”
Notes to editors
* This target is for senior level representation across the financial and professional services sector, rather than every firm individually. The taskforce is suggesting this target is reviewed in 2025 to ensure it remains representative and achievable by 2030.
** The socio-economic diversity taskforce was launched in November 2020 and concludes today after two years.
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