Laid-off minority lawyers toil for no pay

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  • 'The Law Society said: “Some BME solicitors [are] working for no pay"'

    Hmm not exactly news to me. Has been going on for the past 10 years at least.

    So what exactly does the Law Society propose to do about it? I wonder what the Law Society does with the membership fees if not to protect expoited ethnic minorities.

    I expect a little more probing by The Lawyer if it expects its "news" leads to be considered journalism.

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  • 11:36 am - how DARE you expect that the Law Society actually DO anything about any issue that doesn't involve Legal Aid cuts. Have you learnt nothing about our representative body over the past few years???

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  • There are many working for no-pay in solicitors firms, hoping they might one day win the golden ticket of a training contract, but the story is more newsworthy when it involves BMEs?

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  • The same comments about unpaid training contracts and work apply equally to people who aren't ethnic minorities.

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  • I may be incorrect (but I am not) - the Law Society dictates minimum pay for training contracts - IHateBPP may be showing his age.

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  • The SRA does dictate minimum pay, but actually ensuring it is paid is another matter.

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  • Why do you assume that IHateBPP is male?

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  • Re: Anonymous | 25-Oct-2010 12:34 pm
    You're right there are many people working without pay but the problem is more acute among BMEs who don't always have the same contacts and networks as white British lawyers because they didn't go to right school or the right university and Mummy or Daddy isn't a lawyer at Smith & Smith. Race and ethnicity and questions of social capital are still very closely entwined.

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  • Sarah: 'bla bla bla chip on my shoulder'.

    FYI - ethnic minorities are overrepresented in the profession as a percentage of the population. It is easier to get a TC or junior associate position as an ethnic minority than a white person.

    This is a non-story.

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  • Sarah is quite right, and the situation is likely to get much, much worse thanks to the Coalition's plans for higher education.

    Seems like the law is going to remain largely the province of rich white people for some time to come...

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  • Anonymous | 25-Oct-2010 3:15 pm

    What's your source that ethnic minorities are overrepresented in the profession as a percentage of the population?

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  • I have no sympathy.

    This is what happens in an oversubscibed industry.

    The solution is to get another job in an industry where there is demand.

    Everyone knows law is oversubscribed and if one choses to enter a saturated market then one takes the risk or unemployment or exploitation.

    I can't see any basis to moan. To those who complain, you chose to enter the law with full knowledge of the issues.

    Take responsibility for your own decisions. How can you expect the law society or sra to make up for your irresponsible decisions.

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  • "The legal profession should be proud of the gender and ethnic diversity of its students and new entrants: more than half of new solicitors are women and about a fifth are black and minority ethnic (BME) trainees."

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2010/oct/13/diversity-legal-services-board-research

    Bearing in mind the UK population is only 10% non-white, this would, in anyone's maths equate to overrepresentation.

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  • @ Anonymous 4:15 pm "How can you expect the law society or sra to make up for your irresponsible decisions."

    Umm very easily.

    What is the SRA and Law Society for if not to protect and look out for the interests of its members ..doh!

    So there is a problem of supply exceeding demand in law, no huge surprise there; but certainly no reason why exploititive behaviour should continue unchecked (esp in such a prestigious profession).

    BTW ethinic minorities are not overly represented in the law, anyone who thinks that needs to open their eyes and live in the real world.

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  • The simple fact is that as a percentage of society BME's are OVER REPRESENTED in law. Seriously, get off the bandwagon Lawyer.
    These are the offical statistics:
    "•More recently the number of women holding practising certificates has increased by 100% in the last 10 years. Women now make up 60% of admissions to the Law Society;
    •9% of solicitors of ALL in private practice come from a BME background;"
    AMAZING RESULTS! LETS STOP COMPLAINING BME.

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  • To "Doh"
    Yes they have a responsibility to look after the interests of their members but not go as far as making up for their stupidity.
    Excess supply will always lead to exploitation to some degree. That is economics. It is not something the authorities can correct. You can try and pass rules to resolve the issue but it will not work.
    The problem is not for the sra or law society to resolve. It is for individuals to take responsibility for their own actions.

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  • Why do you assume that IHateBPP is male?
    Sorry, I did not have time to include interpretation clause, but to put your mind at rest, words denoting the masculine gender shall include the feminine.
    Happy?

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  • its not just the ethnic minorities that are suffering lawyers at all levels and whether in PP or in-house are being used and abused with employers justifying this with the old adage 'you're lucky to have a job'
    my colleague is 9 years qualified worked for magic circle and national firms has a 1:1 in law, bills his salary and more each month and our employer is paying £28k which i think is an insult for his level of PQE and the added value he offers so perhaps the lawyer could run more balanced articles in the future which don't just focus on the topics that will grab the headlines or pay lip service to one demographic

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  • I'm one of these poor mugs. The only BMEs that are getting kept on are the ones from the well off background - they, at large, benefitted disproporitionately from all the 'boom time' diversity initiatives. I aint gonna use this as an excuse tho, I'm a keep going...and go into IT support.

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  • It is easy to state that BMEs are over represented, but statistics are often misleading.
    Further analysis is required, a more representative analysis would include the number of Law graduates, LPC or GDL graduates from BME backgrounds. The figures are also skewed as a number of BME solicitors establish smaller practices due to the limited opportunities available to them in the larger (and more lucrative) sectors of the industry.
    Recent ONS statistics show that Indian and Chinese students achieve the best results in exams overall (and have done for years), it would naturally follow that a disproportionately higher number go to university and enter the professions.
    Finally, I know of one top fifteen firm that positively encourages partners to take into account any possibility (however remote) that they may have a BME background, to help massage the diversity statistics that they disclose to their clients.
    As with most things the statistics represent what the publisher wants them to represent.

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