The charter was established in 2009 by the Law Society, BT and the Society of Asian Lawyers and is designed to help firms and practices turn their commitment to diversity and inclusion in to positive, practical action for their businesses, staff and clients.
This is achieved by helping practices to record and measure their practices, policies and procedures against a set of diversity and inclusion standards and by providing them with opportunities to share best practice advice and guidance with colleagues from across the profession.
As of July 2018, 490 firms and practices have signed up to the charter, representing more than a third of the legal profession in England and Wales.
The Diversity and Inclusion Charter is a public commitment by legal practices to promote the values of diversity and inclusion throughout their business. Whether it's through recruitment, retention, career progression or training and development, all our signatories are committed to improving opportunities for people in the legal profession, regardless of their background or circumstances.See the charter statement of commitment
The charter is accompanied by a set of protocols designed to help practices fulfil their commitments in several key areas of their business, including reporting and monitoring, flexible working and procuring legal services. The protocols are accompanied by checklists, best practice guidance, case studies and toolkits.Read more information about the charter protocols.
We've developed a set of diversity and inclusion standards to help our charter signatories with completing their biennial self-assessment form.
The standards help to show how well a legal practice is complying with equality legislation, regulation and Lexcel equality and diversity standards. They also cover other areas of business to ensure that positive diversity and inclusion standards exist throughout the practice.
Free to all charter signatories, the diversity and inclusion standards are accompanied by best practice guidance. This document provides charter signatories with examples of positive diversity and inclusion practices, as well as advice on where to get more help or information.
Firms and practices who sign up to the charter are required to participate in the Law Society's Diversity and Inclusion Biennial Report, which show how well they are meeting their charter commitments and where more work still needs to be done.
Signatories to the charter complete an online, easy to use self-assessment exercise against the equality and diversity standards within the reporting tool. These results are then published in aggregate and used to identify trends, successes and areas for improvement for the year ahead.
The statistics quoted in this report reflect the composition of the organisations of the charter signatories who submitted a return. Statistics representing the whole profession can be found on the SRA website.
As one of the earliest industry-specific benchmarking exercises, we know the current Charter needs reviewing so as to be fully representative of the diversity of our membership. That is why we intended to fully design it to make this tool as useful, meaningful and relevant as possible.
If you have been directly involved in charter submissions in the past and are interested in helping us with the review of this tool, please email email@example.com.
The Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Charter, launched in 2009, has 467 signatories, ranging from small family firms through to the largest global legal practices.
Signing up to the charter is easy. A partner or director sends an email to firstname.lastname@example.org stating their commitment. Once we have this, we will ask for information from you to ensure that all signatories meet the charter's requirements. We then create an account for the firm.
Use the reporting tool to complete your submission for the annual review.