Social mobility: a year in review

“Social mobility and diversity are key issues in my presidential plan, and I have made it my mission to break down barriers preventing aspiring lawyers from lower socioeconomic backgrounds from joining and succeeding in the legal profession,” said Law Society President I. Stephanie Boyce. .

“As I begin my final week as President, I thought it best to reflect on what we have achieved to improve social mobility during my tenure and how the work we have done this year has thrown the foundations for the years to come.

“Throughout my presidency, I have met hundreds of young people who have told me their stories. What inspired them to pursue a career in the profession, the challenges they faced, and their determination to use their experience to help our communities with all kinds of legal issues.

“Social mobility is a deeply personal issue for me. I was raised in a single parent home in a social housing estate and discovered that I didn’t have the connections others might have had to get my foot in the door at first.

“I kept persevering and finally graduated as a barrister in 2002, after securing a training contract with a local firm in Buckinghamshire.

“That’s why I’m so proud of the work done by the Bar over the past year in terms of social mobility.

“We hosted two webinars to help members foster social mobility in their organization and launched a brand new social mobility web hub with expert resources to help our members monitor and promote socio-economic diversity.

“We have appointed 13 new Social Mobility Ambassadors in 2021 and awarded 15 scholarships to talented aspiring lawyers who face exceptional social, educational, financial or personal barriers to joining the profession as part of our Access to Law program. the diversity.

“I represent the legal profession on the City of London’s Socio-Economic Diversity Task Force, which has been commissioned by the UK Government to improve socio-economic diversity at senior levels of financial and professional services.

“I took part in the task force’s industry-wide consultation on how the UK government, regulators and industry bodies can engage employers to take action to boost social mobility.

“As part of this consultation, we have held 10 regional roundtables across England and Wales to gather input from the legal profession, including with our Social Mobility Ambassadors, leading law firms. attorneys and in-house counsel.

“We spoke to over 170 lawyers, from trainee lawyers to managing partners and diversity and inclusion professionals from 113 organizations.

“The findings of these roundtables, along with other roundtables organized by other financial and professional services representative bodies, are currently being reviewed by the task force, which is due to release its final report with recommendations in November.”

Judicial diversity

The Department of Justice (MoJ) Judiciary Diversity 2022 study found that there is still work to be done to improve the ethnic and professional diversity of the judiciary.

I. Stephanie Boyce added, “We remain concerned about the significant and continued disparity in outcomes between lawyer candidates versus lawyers, across judicial exercises and have called for faster progress in improving judicial diversity.

“The latest statistics have shown that there has been a reduction in the proportion of judges with legal training.

“As a member of the Judicial Diversity Forum, we will seek to work alongside other organizations to further develop its commitment to judicial diversity.

“This year, the Forum agreed on a series of new questions that will record the socio-economic background of judicial office holders and lawyers from 2025 to align with the best practices of the Social Mobility Commission.

“As I approach the end of my term, I am sure that the new President Lubna Shuja and the staff of the Law Society will continue to fight for greater social mobility in the legal profession and ensure that there is a greater socio-economic diversity at all levels.

Notes to Editors

Read the Social Mobility Task Force’s baseline survey report

Read the 2022 Judicial Diversity Statistical Report

Learn more about our Social Mobility Hub

Discover our social mobility ambassadors

Discover our diversity access program

About the Law Society

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