Law is one of most ethnically diverse university subjects, government stats show

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By Thomas Connelly on

Some 32% of LLB students are non-white, yet ethnic minorities remain poorly represented at many top law firms


Law is the most ethnically diverse of 18 university subjects, according to the latest round of government figures.

Some 68% of undergraduate law students are classed as white by the government’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). That puts it jointly at the top of the diversity pile, along with medicine and dentistry.

The HESA divides student ethnicity into 10 categories: white, black British-Caribbean, black British-African, other black background, Asian-British-Indian, Asian-British-Pakistani, Asian British-Bangladeshi, Chinese, other Asian and other.

The law student diversity figure was well above the UK national average; across the country 80% of university students are white according to the agency, slightly less than the 82% of the population as a whole.

The least ethnically diverse subjects are veterinary science (97% white), and history and philosophy (both 91% white).

Percentage of white students


Despite law schools being considerably more diverse than other fields of university study, law firms continue to be relatively white at associate level. Legal Cheek research reveals that the two most ethnically diverse firms of the top 60 — magic circle players Allen & Overy and Linklaters — are 72% white at associate level, which is not a million miles from the 68% law student figure.

However, at the other end of the ethnicity spectrum, the associates at City firm RPC are 97% white, while Osborne Clarke, DWF and DAC Beachcroft are 96% white and Bird & Bird 95% white.

At partner level, the most diverse firm in the Legal Cheek research is Mishcon de Reya, where 80% are white. Withers and K&L Gates are joint bottom — neither firm has an ethnic minority partner.

For the latest diversity rankings check out the Legal Cheek Most List.



Law has among the lowest proportion of privately educated students of any degree subject [Legal Cheek]

Image via Bodleian Law Library