DCA tells firms to bring down diversity barriers

Legal Services minister Bridget Prentice MP yesterday (Monday 4 December) called on law firms to lead the drive for diversity in the legal profession.

Speaking at the Law Society’s Equality and Diversity forum, Prentice revealed the findings of a working group set up to examine the Department of Constitutional Affairs’s (DCA) recommendations in a February 2006 report, Increasing Diversity in the Legal Professions.

The working group found that there are several barriers to diversity in the legal profession, including inadequate information about how to pursue a career in the law.

It recommended that the DCA, solicitors’ firms and barristers’ chambers explore initiatives to encourage wider entry into the legal profession. The group thought that work-based learning would help increase diversity, and said the DCA should monitor the bespoke LPC courses being brought in by many City firms.

The working group included representatives of the Bar Council, the Law Society, the Institute of Legal Executives as well as Clifford Chance’s global learning and development partner Julia Clark and Old Square Chambers’ Jane McNeill QC.