It was good news for trainee solicitors and aspiring lawyers this week after the 2011 Black Solicitors Network Diversity League table indicated that the trainee level is the most diverse segment of the top 100 UK firms, with 15 per cent from ethnic minority backgrounds and 55 per cent females (14 November 2011).
The picture has improved for ethnic minority trainees in the UK top 100 since 2007, when just 10 per cent of trainees declared themselves to be of an ethnic minority. In the City the picture is even better, with the proportion of ethnic minority trainees increasing from 10 per cent in 2007 to 18 per cent now.
The number of female trainees has also seen improvement in the UK top 100 firms, rising from 55 per cent to 58 per cent since 2007. But figures dropped slightly among the City firms, from 56 per cent to 54 per cent over the same period.
The news comes after firms have made a concerted effort to address diversity and social mobility issues in the last couple of years, with several top law firms, including those in the magic circle, getting involved with programmes such as Pathways to Law, which aims to widen access to the profession (5 July 2011).
But while changes are being made at the junior level, the improvement has not translated into change at the top, with ethnic minorities and women still struggling to reach the highest ranks of practice in the top 100 firms.
The future may be looking a little bit brighter, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
PS Next week we will be coming to the end of our law fair season, finishing with Manchester University on Tuesday and Sheffield University on Wednesday, so come along to our stand to say hello to the Lawyer 2B team.
PPS Lawyer 2B has teamed up with the College of Law to once again host ’Not too Late for Law’, a unique event for career changers and mature students. Delegates will be able to gain an insight from some of the City’s top law firms on how to break into the legal profession. For more information click here.