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Legal profession launches gender equality pledge

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Signatories commit to supporting women into top lawyer roles

A trio of representative bodies have launched a pledge to help support and progress gender equality within the legal profession.

Law firms, chambers and other organisations who sign the pledge will commit to publishing gender equality targets and reporting on their progress towards achieving them. Moreover, signatories will support the progression of women into senior roles in the profession by “focusing on retention and promotion opportunities”.

The Women in Law pledge is launched today by the Law Society, Bar Council and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) at an international symposium on gender equality.

“As a profession which strives to uphold justice, the legal profession must be at the forefront of the fight for gender equality and diversity in the workplace,” said Law Society president Christina Blacklaws. “In signing the Women in Law pledge, legal organisations across the country will hold themselves accountable for gender equality in their workforce and commit to creating a more diverse profession.”

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In 2016, research published by recruitment outfit Laurence Simon found that 62% of female lawyers felt their gender had hindered their career progression — this compared to just 16% of male lawyers.

Throwing his support behind today’s commitment, Justice Secretary David Gauke said:

“We know that a more balanced workforce is good for business and the wellbeing of organisations… It is only by working together that we will improve equality and diversity and I encourage all law firms and others to sign the pledge and ensure there is equal opportunity at all levels.”

In April, Blacklaws called on male lawyers to play a greater role in tackling gender imbalance across the upper echelons of the profession. Speaking in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, she said: “We need men to step up and take responsibility… they are a key part of the solution.”

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26 Comments

Anonymous

Discrimination against men.

Anonymous

Justice =/= equality of outcome
Justice can be equality of opportunity, however.

These are fundamentally different concepts and it is disingenuous for activists to align them. Given that humans are not identical robots but creatures with different desires and goals, equality of opportunity will inevitably result in unequal results.

Pursuing diversity for diversity’s sake (instead of allowing a diverse range of people to reach the positions they choose and deserve) is not a just result. It is using people as a means to an end. It is to sacrifice people’s desires and abilities to achieve an arbitrary political goal.

If equal numbers of men and all women have an identical desire and drive to make partner or QC then that is fine. Use 50:50 as a proxy for equality of opportunity. But if not, aiming for 50:50 is a senseless goal.

Anonymous

I demand free mental health days for all the 20-something female fee earners who’ve had a row with their boyfriend!

Mouse of Nonna

Think it should have been called “Gender Equality Pledge” rather than “Women in Law Pledge”. That way, once 50% is hit, it can be maintained.

Also, some statistics: 62% of entrants into law in 2017 were women. Presumably that is very much the same now.

On the point of senior roles; not all women want to be Partners. Its a demanding role regardless who you are. If you want (rather than have to) spend more time with your children, Partnership may not necessarily mix with that; clients are not sympathetic to you not doing something for them in light of other responsibilities when they have to pay your bills.

What needs to be considered is facilitating the progression for those who want, and have the practice to back up, Partnership. What should be qualified for all this is that there isn’t a partner tree, that you can just pluck partnership from. You do not have a manifest destiny for it, just because.

Its a pretty complex area. I do not think the current language being used is appropriate, nor do I think, as with most activism, the realities are being properly taken into account with campaigning for it. I would welcome a more detailed analysis on the realities of whether all women want to be partners.

Presumably, a happier workforce will be one where the needs of all people are taken into account, and resources used to find a medium to facilitate that. Not everyone can be happy; business is concerned with money not feelings.

Anonymous

Sadly the word “competency” was not used even once in this article.

Steven Seagull

I was under the impression that there are now more female law students and graduates than male ones. If this is the case, then presumably we can have large-scale action in the future to balance the numbers so that more men are encouraged and assisted into law.

Gender Fluidity

Wowwwwww there…

What about us????

Anonymous

Er, how about no?

You take the ability of men to earn a living ans support their families

And then ignore their votes

The backlash from this will continue to surprise

Anonymous

The only way to do this would be to prevent female lawyers from marrying high-earning men and then dropping out to work less intense jobs so that they get the sweet deal of both time + money.

Anonymous

Ain’t gonna happen mate.

Married man (with 2 kids) of Counsel

You obviously aren’t married with kids!

The demographic still tends to be high earning man and woman with lower paid job so that she has time to do childcare.

She certainly doesn’t get more “time” to relax than he bloke!

Anonymous

*the

Anonymous

Will take a societal shift to change that – its often frowned upon (by women as well as men) for a man to stay at home and look after the kids instead of being the breadwinner.

Bloke

This is why I chose not to enter the legal profession after uni. Discrimination sold as equality. Good luck to other men starting off in the next few years. You’ll need it.

Anonymous

This is the reason? Really? Not a 2.2 from Solent uni?

Anonymous

Mate – you were 100% right.

The reality is that law is actually a very simple discipline. Admittedly you will get some pompous lawyers who insist otherwise, but it’s usually because they are a bit dim. There is nothing in the law that challenges a mind that is more than averagely competent.

This means that it all comes down to connections: who is your daddy (men + women), and who have you fucked (women – mainly).

Now add boomers who want to employ anyone foreign plus affirmative action on top of that and you have a shit sandwich of humongous proportions lined up for any normal British male who naively thought the law might make a worthy profession.

Anonymous

Indeed. People like HLA Hart, Dworkin and Hoffmann are good examples of such averagely competent minds.

Anonymous

More women are being hired into law for the past 5 years. Absolutely ridiculous! Men are being discriminated against.

SAD

Anonymous

That may just be though because there are a lot more women than men chosing to do LLBs.

Anonymous

Alex enough with deleting comments.

Anonymous

Where do I, as a trans person, fit into all this?

Anonymous

transubstantiation
/ˌtransəbstanʃɪˈeɪʃ(ə)n,ˌtrɑːnsəbstanʃɪˈeɪʃ(ə)n,ˌtransəbstansɪˈeɪʃ(ə)n,ˌtrɑːnsəbstansɪˈeɪʃ(ə)n/
noun, Christian Theology
noun: transubstantiation
the conversion of the substance of the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Christ at consecration, only the appearances of bread and wine still remaining.

Anonymous

Our society has become grotesque, next stop isn’t worth thinking about.

Zigmund

Where do I, who self-identifies as a gender-fluid, pansexual, ABDL zebra, come into this?

Anonyman

Not even going to bother reading this. What is this obsession with enforcing cultural Marxism under the guise fighting the ‘patriarchy’ (which doesn’t exist) and the supposed repression of women?

Equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. This destruction of meritocracy will just see the rise of mediocrity in well established businesses and organisations.

SAD!

Anonymous

Applying for partnership or silk? Then start “identifying” as a woman and wear a dress. Will boost your chances by about 50%.

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