Legal profession celebrates South Asian Heritage Month

Solicitors in England and Wales will today mark the start of South Asian Heritage Month, which this year will focus on celebrating and commemorating South Asian culture and educating the public.

Law Society vice president Lubna Shuja said: “I am delighted to mark the start of South Asian Heritage Month, which does so much to raise awareness of the richness of South Asia’s history and culture. It also recognises the diverse experiences and valuable contributions of South Asian communities in this country.

“Over recent years, there has been a change in the way we speak, write and communicate about race and ethnicity, as businesses seek to achieve better diversity and inclusion in their workplaces.

“A report by the UK government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities in 2021 concluded that the use of the acronym ‘BAME’ was no longer fit for purpose, as it does not take into account the diversity within the minority ethnic population.*

“Law firms have also distanced themselves from the acronym, instead seeking to recognise the different heritage and identities of their minority ethnic staff.”

The Law Society’s Annual Statistics Report 2020 found that of 202,374 solicitors on the Roll, 149,891 solicitors have practising certificates (PCs). Within that figure 20,000 solicitors of Black, Asian and minority ethnic background had practising certificates and two thirds of those were of Asian/Asian British heritage (including East Asians).

Overall, 13.7% of PC holders are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and 6.8% are Bangladeshi, Indian or Pakistani solicitors.

Lubna Shuja added: “Building a more inclusive profession can be achieved by having an interest in, and an awareness of, diverse experiences and perspectives.

“This should be the basis for collaboration. It should also help build the collective effort that is needed to improve racial equity and inclusion across the legal sector and wider society.

“I hope in marking South Asian Heritage Month, we will encourage the profession to take time to learn a bit more about South Asian heritage and culture, and to celebrate the important contribution of South Asian solicitors.

“In three months, I will become the first Asian, first Muslim and seventh female president of the Law Society, where I hope to continue the focus on improving diversity and inclusion in the profession.

“I very much look forward to celebrating South Asian Heritage Month as well as hearing about the stories and achievements of my South Asian colleagues in the profession.”

Notes to editors

* Read the government’s report on the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities

South Asian Heritage Month began in 2020 and it is about reclaiming the history and identity of British South Asians. Find out more about South Asian Heritage Month

Read our Race for Inclusion: the experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic solicitors report

Read the Law Society’s Annual Statistics Report 2020

In October 2022, Lubna Shuja will become the 178th, seventh woman, first Asian and first Muslim president of the Law Society of England and Wales

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