Laid-off minority lawyers toil for no pay

Some black and minority ethnic (BME) lawyers are working for free because they failed to land paid training contracts or work after they were made redundant.

The shocking statistic is revealed in research carried out by the Law Society and published exclusively by The Lawyer in its inaugural report on diversity, out today.

The Law Society said: “Some BME solicitors [are] working for no pay. In today’s society, with wrangles over the minimum wage, it seems incredible that individuals are still prepared to work without remuneration to fulfil their passion to break into the legal profession.”

The Lawyer Diversity Report 2010 suggests that minorities have been affected disproportionately in redundancy programmes, that women and minorities are pushed towards lower-paid areas and that a fifth of LGBT lawyers have experienced discrimination at work.

These factors are leading talent from non-traditional groups to leave private practice in droves, resulting in a loss of £125,000 per associate and a surge in Employment Tribunal claims.

The report explains the issues behind these trends and carries out the first audit of the diversity profiles of the UK’s largest 30 firms.