15 September 2019

Promoting race equality in the legal profession

On 23 June in conjunction with the Law Society, The Bar Council and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), we held an event focusing on promoting race equality in the legal profession.

Following a welcome by Robert Bourne, Vice President of the Law Society. Professor Lisa Webley from the University of Westminster focused on identifying knowledge gaps in the Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) experience. She presented some statistics on the demographics of law students.

Dr Omar Khan, Director of the Runnymede Trust followed this by looking at what we can learn from other sectors working towards equality and inclusion. He also listed ways in which the legal profession can promote race equality including by monitoring, using targets, through leadership, and with diverse panels. Paulette Mastin, Chair of the Black Solicitors Network (BSN) looked at practical challenges and cultural mind-sets. She presented data from the SRA's October 2015 diversity survey and the BSN diversity league table data which showed that the number of BAME trainees has significantly increased over recent years but there remain challenges, particularly around the progress of these practitioners to more senior positions.

In the group discussions delegates discussed recruitment and retention as well as our Fair Recruitment Rules, the second anniversary of their introduction being on 1 July. Our Director of Professional Conduct Sara Jagger closed the event by looking at opportunities for collaborative working. Look out for a report from the event which is being published this summer. For more data on diversity at the Bar visit our website.