The Legal Services Board (LSB), publishes today a summary report on the legal service regulators’ (regulators) progress against the four diversity outcomes introduced by the LSB in February 2017. The framework requires the regulators to continue to gather data to understand the diversity profile of their regulated communities combined with using that data:
- to inform development of its regulatory activities;
- to facilitate collaboration with others to encourage a diverse workforce; and
- as part of stakeholder accountability.
The report assesses progress and summarises the LSB’s expectations for each of the regulators in 2019. We will continue to monitor developments.
Neil Buckley Chief Executive of the Legal Services Board said:
“The legal services sector is becoming more diverse, although there remain areas where further progress is needed, including improving the representation of certain groups entering the profession and progression to senior roles. Diversity is vital so that the legal profession reflects the society it serves. It can also be a driver for improved economic performance.
Overall, the legal service regulators have made positive progress against the four outcomes. For a minority of the regulators, there is still some work to be done to ensure they continue not only to build a thorough understanding of the diversity profile of their regulated community but also to promote more diversity within it. We will be closely monitoring future developments and the impact of their regulatory activities throughout 2019.“
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Notes for editors:
- The summary Diversity report can be found here. This report is the LSB’s first formal assessment of the regulators’ progress against the four outcomes
- The LSB framework has been informed by the data which the LSB acquired through the first set of guidance in 2011, which required the regulators to collect and publish data on the diversity of the workforce. We provided an update on their progress against these outcomes in August 2017, the report can be found here.
- Developing a diverse workforce in the legal sector is central to one of the LSB’s strategic objectives for 2018/21, to increase innovation, growth and the diversity of services and providers
- The Legal Services Act 2007 (the Act) created the LSB as a new regulator with responsibility for overseeing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. The new regulatory regime became active on 1 January 2010.
- The LSB oversees ten approved regulators, which in turn regulate individual legal practitioners. The approved regulators, designated under Part 1 of Schedule 4 of the 2007 Act, are the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Master of the Faculties, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, the Association of Costs Lawyers, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.In addition, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland is an approved regulator for probate activities only but does not currently authorise anyone to offer this service.
- As at 1 April 2017, the legal profession in England and Wales comprised 148,690 solicitors, 15,281 barristers, 6,809 chartered legal executives and 5,958 other individuals operating in other areas of the legal profession such as conveyancing. The UK legal sector turnover was £32.7 billion per annum (2017) which is up 20% in cash terms since 2012.