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The Black Solicitors' Network has become the first ethnic minority group to gain Law Society recognition.
The network, aimed at improving the status and profile of black solicitors, is now one of eight recognised interest groups that receive Law Society funding.
The network, which was formed in 1995, has formulated a number of initiatives for the coming year. These include mentoring and training workshops for young people wishing to enter the solicitors' profession, researching whether there is a fair distribution of black solicitors handling legal aid work and liaising with the Law Society and the Department for Constitutional Affairs.
Black Solicitors' Network secretary Michael Webster, who is joint managing partner of Webster Dixon, said that the group's first aim is to recruit more members.
The other special interest groups recognised by the Law Society are the Association of Women Solicitors, the Commerce & Industry group, the Local Government Group, the Solicitors Sole Practitioners' Group, the Group for Solicitors with Disabilities, the Trainee Solicitors Group and the Young Solicitors Group.