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Legal profession launches Women in Law Pledge

20 June 2019

On Thursday 20 June 2019, the Law Society of England and Wales, the Bar Council of England and Wales and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) will join together to launch a Women in Law Pledge at the Law Society's international symposium on gender equality.

Law firms, local law societies, barristers' chambers and organisations outside the legal sector will be invited to sign their name to the pledge, which is supported by the justice secretary David Gauke, and aims to build a more equal profession for all.

Organisations who sign the pledge will commit to:

  • support the progression of women into senior roles in the profession by focusing on retention and promotion opportunities
  • set clear plans and targets around gender equality and diversity for their organisation
  • publish their action plan and publicly report on their progress towards achieving their goals

"As a profession which strives to uphold justice, the legal profession must be at the forefront of the fight for gender equality and diversity in the workplace," said Law Society president Christina Blacklaws.

"In signing the Women in Law Pledge, legal organisations across the country will hold themselves accountable for gender equality in their workforce and commit to creating a more diverse profession."

Richard Atkins QC, chair of the Bar Council, said: "This pledge reflects the joint understanding between the legal professions of the importance of diversity. It will allow chambers and organisations in which barristers work to demonstrate their commitment to a balanced and equal future for all.

"It is an important step forward in the drive for equality which the Bar Council is proud to support."

CILEx president Philip Sherwood says: "Whilst record numbers of women are entering the legal profession, there are still too few making it into senior positions. 75% of CILEx members are women and representing their interests and removing barriers to progression is one of our key aims.

"We would like to encourage legal organisations to play their part in improving the diversity of our profession at all levels by signing the Women in Law Pledge and committing to make the changes needed to support and promote gender equality."

Justice secretary David Gauke said: "We know that a more balanced workforce is good for business and the wellbeing of organisations.

"I already see this first-hand at the Ministry of Justice, at which 48% of senior positions are filled by women committed to public service.

"It is only by working together that we will improve equality and diversity, and I encourage all law firms and others to sign the pledge and ensure there is equal opportunity at all levels."

Notes to editors

The Women in Law Pledge will be launched by the Law Society of England and Wales, the Bar Council of England and Wales and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) at the Law Society's international symposium on gender equality on Thursday 20 June 2019.

The pledge is supported by the justice secretary David Gauke and other organisations also contributed to this initiative.

Read the Women in Law Pledge

Law Society press office contact: Emma Clarke | emma.clarke@lawsociety.org.uk | 020 8049 3743

Bar Council press office contact: Shiryn Sayani | ssayani@barcouncil.org.uk | 020 7611 1399

CILEx press office contact: Sharon Bruty | sharon.bruty@cilex.org.uk | 01234 845721

Ministry of Justice press office contact: Daniel Mulloy | daniel.mulloy@justice.gov.uk | 0203 545 8967