The legal profession is even more elitist than other professions – and the gap has widened in the last decade.
Research conducted for The Lawyer by the Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) at Bristol University, taking wealth to be an indicator of social standing, compared the average monthly family income for lawyers born in 1958 with those born in 1970.
The research found that lawyers came from more privileged backgrounds than those working in other professional jobs.
The average family income for lawyers born in 1958 was £1,900 a month, 22 per cent higher than the average for other professionals.
For lawyers born in 1970 this gap had increased to 27 per cent, with family income rising to £2,345 compared with £1,845 for the families of doctors, accountants and architects.
The statistics reveal the scale of the problem facing the new chair of the Government’s social mobility commission Alan Milburn MP, who is leading a major campaign to tackle class barriers in professions such as the law.
Former Bar Council chairman Geoffrey Vos QC, who sits on the Government’s social mobility commission, said: “I fully accept that the law has a disproportionate number of people from a privileged background. That’s what we’re trying to change.”
Other statistics from the CMPO research show that, in the 1958 group, 3.7 per cent of lawyers were raised in social housing, whereas in the 1970 group this had fallen to 1.6 per cent.
For more on this story, read today’s feature.