Diversity at all levels of the solicitor profession benefits clients and practitioners, the Law Society of England and Wales said today as applications opened for its mentoring scheme to support career progression for solicitors from under-represented groups.
Law Society research shows women, members of ethnic minorities, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and disabled solicitors are under-represented at more senior levels of the legal profession. Mentors from all corners of the profession are invited to apply to mentor solicitors from groups under-represented at senior levels.
The professional body for solicitors invites members who would like to be mentors or mentees to apply for places on the programme, which will run for one year.
"The mentoring programme improved my feelings about my job and gave me the confidence to raise concerns and ask for opportunities to improve my career in a way that I simply wouldn't have done without the programme," said Lindsey Bartling, who was a mentee on the Law Society pilot mentoring programme.
"I have benefited through obtaining a new job that I know would not have been achievable without this programme giving me the insight into my skills and professional abilities."
The scheme, in partnership with diversity and inclusion experts Brook Graham, will provide mentors to the Law Society's flagship social mobility initiative, the Diversity Access Scheme, which is to address the barriers faced by students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Law Society president Robert Bourns said: "Diversity in the legal sector continues to improve, but minority groups are still under-represented at more senior levels.
"We need a profession that recognises excellence equally; a diverse and dynamic profession that not only reflects the society we serve but the values that we share, supporting the rule of law and the integrity of the justice system. Our mentoring programme will support solicitors from all backgrounds to develop thriving careers.
"The relationship of mentor and mentee can be incredibly enriching and empowering for both parties, opening up fresh perspectives and building a sense of community within the profession."
Mentors are not only a source of advice and direction but can also be a source of motivation and inspiration during challenging periods.
Notes to editors
The scheme is open to practising solicitors across England and Wales, from all geographical and practice areas.
Applications for the 2017-18 programme closed on 26 May 2017.
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