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Developing a diverse legal workforce

The legal services market is continuously evolving: new technologies, international transactions, new business models and heightened consumer expectations all are changing the landscape.

As the market changes, the legal workforce also needs to change and develop in a way that ensures consumers are getting the right level of service.

One of the Regulatory Objectives set out by the Legal Services Act 2007 is to encourage an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession.

Diversity

The legal workforce needs to better reflect the communities which it serves. The LSB has conducted research which has identified significant challenges facing diversity in the workforce. Based on those findings, we expect the regulators to evaluate their diversity initiatives, assess their effectiveness, and share learning points.

In July 2011, we issued guidance to the regulators introducing new transparency duties at firm and chambers level to monitor and publish diversity statistics. This initiative is designed to create a commercial incentive to take action to widen access and support progression and retention. We published reports on regulators’ progress against this guidance in September 2013 and March 2015. We have also hosted two roundtables with the regulators to discuss what more they could do in their work in this area. Some of the presentations from these roundtables can be downloaded here:

Using law firm diversity data, SRA

Going public: diversity disclosures by large UK law firms, Dr Steven Vaughan

What more can be done to effectively use diversity data to drive progress in the sector, Professor Peter Urwin

Diversity data on each of the legal professions can be found on the relevant pages of the regulators websites.

In February 2013, we published a review of available evidence on the equality of pay in legal services. The purpose of the review was to establish from the evidence currently available what can be understood about the equality of pay in the legal services sector in England and Wales and highlight what action is needed.

Further information
For more information contact the Regulatory Associate Graeme MacLachlan