The legal profession celebrates South Asian Heritage Month

Lawyers in England and Wales will today mark the start of South Asian Heritage Month, which this year will focus on celebrating and commemorating South Asian culture and educating the public.

Law Society Vice President Lubna Shuja said, “I am delighted to mark the start of South Asian Heritage Month, which does so much to raise awareness of the rich history and culture of South Asia. It also recognizes the diverse experiences and valuable contributions of South Asian communities in this country.

“Over the past few years, there has been a shift in the way we speak, write and communicate about race and ethnicity, as companies seek to achieve greater diversity and inclusion in their workplaces.

“A report by the UK government’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in 2021 concluded that the use of the acronym ‘BAME’ was no longer fit for purpose, as it fails to take into account the diversity within of the ethnic minority population.*

“Law firms have also moved away from the acronym, seeking instead to recognize the different heritages and identities of their ethnic minority staff.”

The Law Society’s 2020 Annual Statistical Report found that out of 202,374 lawyers on the roll, 149,891 lawyers have practicing certificates (PCs). Of this figure, 20,000 lawyers of Black, Asian and minority background had certificates of practice and two-thirds of these were of Asian/Asian British background (including East Asians).

Overall, 13.7% of PC holders are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups and 6.8% are Bangladeshi, Indian or Pakistani lawyers.

Lubna Shuja added, “Creating a more inclusive profession can be achieved by engaging with and being aware of diverse experiences and perspectives.

“That should be the basis of the collaboration. It should also help strengthen the collective effort needed to improve racial equity and inclusion in the legal sector and in society at large.

“I hope that by marking South Asian Heritage Month, we will encourage the profession to take the time to learn a little more about South Asian heritage and culture and to celebrate the important contribution of South Asian lawyers -Asians.

“In three months, I will become the first Asian, first Muslim and seventh female president of the Law Society, where I hope to continue to focus on improving diversity and inclusion in the profession.

“I really look forward to celebrating South Asian Heritage Month and hearing about the stories and accomplishments of my South Asian colleagues in the profession.

Notes to Editors

* Read the government’s report on the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities

South Asian Heritage Month has started in 2020 and it is about reclaiming the history and identity of British South Asians. Learn more about South Asian Heritage Month

Read our Race for Inclusion: The Experiences of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Lawyers Report

Read the Law Society’s 2020 Annual Statistical Report

In October 2022, Lubna Shuja will become the 178th, seventh female, first Asian and first Muslim president of the Law Society of England and Wales.

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body working globally to support and represent lawyers, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Naomi Jeffreys | 020 8049 3928