Female and ethnic minority lawyers continue to face steep challenges on their way to the top

| 18/11/2015 | 0 Comments

This week saw the release of the 2015 BSN (Black Solicitors Network) Diversity League Table (DLT) report. The launch event was attended by close to 200 people and hosted by Magic Circle law firm Linklaters at their London office.

The event included a presentation of the main findings by Professor Urwin, the DLT Head Researcher, followed by a Diversity Panel Discussion and audience Q&A.

The panel discussion was chaired by Kim Hollis QC of 25 Bedford Row Chambers. On the panel were, Abu Bundu-Kamara, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Pearson plc, Miranda Brawn, Director of Legal and Transaction Management at a City investment bank and Vice-Chair of the Black Cultural Archive, Weyinmi Popo, Partner at Jones Day LLP and Co-chair of the Jones Day “London Lawyers of Color” group and Professor Peter Urwin

2015 marks the 10th year of the BSN Diversity League Table, which is widely considered to be the legal profession’s leading diversity reporting initiative. The foreword for this 10th anniversary edition was provided by the UK Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP.

The Law Society is the lead sponsor of the BSN Diversity League Table initiative and this year it was also supported by over 50 firms and chambers who took part in the survey.

Law Society president Jonathan Smithers said in this year’s report,” The Diversity League Table has become an invaluable resource for the legal profession.”

He went on to add, “The information gathered by the Diversity League Table is significant for firms’ business planning and policy development. For the Law Society, the information informs the way we promote diversity at all levels of the legal profession and how we represent our members’ needs.”

Main findings:

The report found that gender and ethnic minority representation at junior levels of the profession are high and could be considered representative in many areas. However, the levels of attrition as we move up the professional ladder still mean that only 12.4% of QCs and 27.5% of partners are women, despite the fact that 44% of pupils and 60.8% of trainees are also women. Only 5.5% of QCs and 8.6% of partners are from an ethnic minority background, despite 20.5% of pupils and 22.7% of trainees being from an ethnic minority background.[1]

The report also highlighted the situation of Black lawyers and barristers in particular, as this group makes up only 0.7% of partners and 1.5% of QCs in the DLT sample.

International firms and the City 10 firms in the survey tend to have achieved greater levels of ethnic diversity, when compared to their relative lack of gender diversity, while the UK Top 100 firms at the top of the demographic league tables tend to be there because of enhanced levels of gender, rather than ethnic diversity at higher levels of practice.

The 10 year review emphasised that across both chambers and firms, the continued upward trend in gender and ethnic diversity among senior staff is at a very slow pace.

The Rankings:

The Overall Diversity League Table is made up by a combination of a participants’ position in the “Policy & Practice” table and the “Demographic League Table”.

Freeths LLP were overall top, a significant change in fortunes as they ranked 28th in 2014. . Trowers & Hamlins LLP were second this year, with another impressive move, up from 24th place in 2014. Sidley Austin LLP made a return to the top 10, coming in at 3rd place.

For chambers, first and second place went to Coram Chambers and 33 Bedford Row respectively. Third place went to Matrix Chambers, last years’ top ranked chambers.

In support of DLT2015, David Cameron MP said, “Organisations like the Black Solicitors Network can make sure that Britain really is a place where opportunity is truly equal and people are judged by their talent, and not by anything else.”


Media Enquiries: please contact Godwin Ohajah at Satsuma: media@satsuma.eu


The print version of the Diversity League Table has a cover price of £45.00 and is available directly from the publisher. Access to the online version is free. Please follow the link below to read the full report:

Click here to read the full report – BSN Diversity League Table 2015 (Digital Edition)

Satsuma are the Research Project Managers and Publishers of the 2015 BSN Diversity League Table.

For general enquiries and to purchase a hard copy, please email diversity@satsuma.eu or call 0845 057 0515.


Category: Industry News, Satsuma News

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