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Like most of our followers Lawyer 2B would love to see greater diversity in the legal profession.
But unfortunately with the cost of the legal education continuing to rise and funding options becoming increasingly limited there’s a real danger of law becoming even more of closed shop for students from less wealthy backgrounds.
Indeed, following NatWest’s shock decision to withdraw a vital postgraduate studies loan we were contacted by a number of students who now contend that a legal career is now simply beyond their reach (read more).
That’s why we welcomed the Legal Services Board’s (LSB) decision to probe law firms and barristers’ chambers on their diversity credentials. As we reported earlier this week the LSB will be asking all lawyers a range of questions including where their parents attended university . The radical plans are part of a concerted effort by the regulator to monitor social mobility ahead of the April Equality Act implementation (read more).
As one reader argued: “This type of questioning to lawyers will hopefully highlight the social barriers to entering into the profession and bring about opportunities being created for students from working class backgrounds, or simply with no connection to the profession, to match those from more privileged backgrounds.”
However, other comments weren’t as positive with some questioning whether the LSB’s efforts will make any difference while others went as far as asking why it’s anybody’s business?
As the LSB admitted there is no ‘silver bullet’ solution to encouraging diversity in the law. But as Baker & McKenzie partner Tom Cassels put it this sort of exercise is absolutely necessary. “The first stage of dealing with these issues is to understand the current position,” explained Cassels.
PS - The Spring 2011 issue of Lawyer 2B is now out so go and grab your free copy from either your law faculty, careers service of law society
PPS - A new date has been set for “Not too late for law” our free careers evening for mature applicants. Cick here for more information