Will the profession finally add class to its diversity stats?

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  • Personally...

    I'd be more sympathetic to working class people if they didn't waste so much of their money on designer clothes, over-priced trainers and Sky telly. No-one's going to thank me for pointing that out, but someone had to, didn't they?

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  • Re: Personally...

    "I'd be more sympathetic to working class people if they didn't waste so much of their money on designer clothes, over-priced trainers and Sky telly. No-one's going to thank me for pointing that out, but someone had to, didn't they?"


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  • Anyone actually asked any working class lawyers?

    ... about their experiences??

    I come from a very working class background. I spent 3 years as a lawyer at a large commercial firm and, quite frankly, was surrounded by people who were completely unlike me. Their values were different, their experiences were different. One trainee in my year even got the contract because her dad was very friendly with the Managing Partner. Just look at the interests of lawyers - golf, horse riding, opera... does this really tally up with what the average person on the street enjoys? No. And then the politics... the backstabbing. By and large, with someone from the working classes you know where you stand. Lawyers are way too nice to each other, and way to ready to backstab.

    The field IS extremely uneven. Working class kids usually don't have as settled a home life, more often have to work during the holidays and can't rely on mummy or daddy's friends to give them work experience. There was one guy on my course at university who sent his coursework home... so that his dad could have one of his trainees do it.

    Fortunately for me, I got out and found another profession I'm currently really enjoying - it's tough right now with the economy, but I'm infinitely happier now that I ever was as a lawyer, and all because I'm not surrounded by up-themselves idiots all day.

    Good to see so many of you getting laid off.

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  • Last Post

    Well done on showing your intelligence by not stereotyping "the working classes" there. Bravo.

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  • Gawd bless the Labour party

    One reason why the profession is so socio-economically homogenous is that Labour destroyed grammar schools, the system which allowed the able but financially unable to access good universities and then the professions.

    If the government really wants to do something about diversity in the workplace, it should start at the root of the problem by improving state education so that the not-so-wealthy can access good universities and compete with the wealthier counterparts.

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  • Failings of the legal profession

    Those from privileged backgrounds tend to present themselves better (e.g. appearance, speech and manners.) However, firms fail to recognise that they have been given every possible aid to get to were they are (e.g. private school, funding for degree and connections).

    Those from less privileged backgrounds have been more resilient, determined and dedicated. I am not meaning discriminate against those from privileged backgrounds just to illustrate the point that those individuals that not had all the assistance tend possess alternate qualities and in my opinion superior qualities.

    Furthermore, to anonymous. Your naive view perfectly represents those individual in the legal profession who wrongfully generalise those that have to endure greater hardships then you can appreciate.

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  • Let's not stereotype

    I don't know what has caused anonymous to come to the conclusion that working class people "waste so much of their money on designer clothes, over-priced trainers and Sky telly" but I can assure you that the majority of the working class are not like that.

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  • Stereotypes have nothing to do with it

    The so-called 'working class' are just as likely as the professional/privileged to be interested in golf, horse-riding and opera. And it is silly to say that only those from privileged backgrounds have homogenous interests within their 'class' group.

    In my large commercial practice everyone has their own interests - some (many) are into football, some are into country sports, some into rugby and cricket and some hiking and sailing, and we're from all sorts of backgrounds. However life is like that - generally you won't end up working anywhere where all your colleagues are the same or where they all have the same background - imagine how tedious that would be. Anonymous is worried about office politics and says that the 'working class' do not participate in such matters - what nonsense. People are people - and everyone is occasionally tempted to gossip behind a colleague's back, or present a smiling face to a colleague one doesn't really like that much. It's life, and it happens in the stock room at your local corner shop as well as in the board room of your top 20 law firm. Do you think that children who go into the family line of business (of whatever size) all work their way to the top - of course not. One is just as likely to jump ahead of other chambermaids to end up assistant manager of a B&B as one is to get a TC based on a parent's nodding acquaintance with the managing partner - in fact more likely given that most top firms have rigourous interview and selection procedures involving multiple partners so that no one individual can impose a person on the firm. It's possible the trainee you speak of got her interview based on family connections - but i'd bet she performed well in interview as well. And it's rather unfair to characterise everyone unlike you as an 'up-themselves idiot' - i might just as fairly describe the 'working-class' colleagues I've known in the past as chippy uncouth fools.

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  • Wealth is not class; ability tends to begat ability

    It is nonsense to conflate wealth, class and "privilege" - they are entirely separate, and each do not entail the other.

    It is perfectly possible for a person doing a job traditionally considered to be of low social status (e.g., plumber, construction worker) to be considerably more wealthy than occupations traditionally considered to be of high social status, such as teaching. Equally, it is possible for wealthy parents to give their children a very poor upbringing, which children as a result cannot honestly be described as "privileged".

    No doubt, given the absence of any subsidy or subsidised loan for the necessary specific qualifications for entry into the legal profession, wealth per se is an advantage (although commercial rate loans are available, so the absence of family wealth is not a complete bar to entry).

    It ought also be considered that people strongly tend to marry (and therefore have children with) people similar to themselves, such that hard-working and successful people will tend to have children with other hard-working and successful people, and the combined genetic and environmental influence from that parentage and upbringing is considerably more likely to produce children who are hard-working and successful than those born to parents who are neither. Similarly, people who tend to be more intellectual are more likely to have children with other people who tend to be more intellectual, and therefore produce children with similar characteristics (intellect being something both that tends to enable people to be more wealthy and successful, and something necessary to do well in the legal profession). It does not inevitably follow, of course, in each case: there will always be exceptions - but it is a general tendency, and one that most certainly should not be discounted when interpreting the results of extremely vague surveys such as these.

    In response to the question “If law firms don’t do it themselves, who else is going to?” posed by the person interviewed - the obvious answer is the individuals who want a career in law. Why on earth should people from any background sit back and wait for careers to find them? It is the responsibility of everyone who wants a serious career to take active steps from an early age to consider what sort of career to pursue and to pursue it. It is abject nonsense to suggest that anybody has any sort of duty to make people want to join any particular profession.

    As to the concept of "representation", that is seriously misconceived: the function of the legal profession is not to "represent" people in the sense of be comprised of people in equal proportions to the general population: it is to provide legal services. There is no basis whatsoever to suggest that people cannot adequately provide legal services to people dissimilar to themselves, and it is consider pernicious bigotry to suggest to the contrary.

    Any given specialist job will inevitably take a non-representative sample of the population, as the characteristics required for success in such a job are likely to be such as to favour people that have those characteristics, who often also tend to have other associated characteristics as a consequence or antecedent cause. The only proper and legitimate basis for selection of any candidate for any position in any profession under any circumstances whatsoever is merit - anything less than that amounts to prejudice bigotry and is extremely serious misconduct.

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  • Moral high ground

    Very glad I'm not a client of James E Petts if his letters of advice read like that posting !

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