LGBT lawyers find in-house approval

The in-house legal profession is leaps and bounds ahead of private practice in terms of diversity, new research has found.

According to research from legal recruiter Laurence Simons, which canvassed over 1,900 in-house lawyers, 35 per cent of those surveyed are from an ethnic minority background, while 7 per cent described themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

According to figures from The Law Society in 2008-09, the proportion of ethnic minority solicitors in private practice is 9.8 per cent, while Simmons & Simmons partner and founder of the Interlaw Diversity Forum (IDF) Daniel Winterfeldt said that in most law firms gay, lesbian and bisexual lawyers typically account for about 2-3 per cent of the headcount.

He added that the finding of a preference among LGBT lawyers to work in-house is consistent with research conducted by the IDF and The Law ­Society.

Deepak Malhotra, senior vice president and general counsel at Constellation Europe, said of the findings: “It shows that, whether the true figure is 35 per cent or not, there is clearly a significant number [of ethnic minorities] making a meaningful contribution to British industry. That’s the important thing.”