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12 February 2013
Law firms are improving on diversity and inclusion performance but there is still some way to go, a report has found.
The report, which details the work carried out by signatories to the Law Society's Diversity and Inclusion Charter, measures how firms are performing in building diversity and inclusion for staff and clients as well as outlining changes in workforce demographics.
Out of the 177 signatories, which together represent over a third of all solicitors in private practice, 117 performed better on key diversity and inclusion metrics, such as assigning responsibility for achieving equality and diversity targets, investing in supplier diversity, and setting equality, diversity and inclusion objectives.
Firms of all sizes, ranging from small firms employing 25 or fewer employees to top 100 firms, of which 74 have signed up to the charter, saw their results improve.
Key areas of improvement include building stronger leadership for equality and diversity and sharing good practice. Progress was slower in employment and staff development, with few firms taking sufficient action to ensure equal pay.
Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff said: "By signing up to the charter, firms across the country are actively demonstrating their commitment to improve their equality and diversity practices.
"The results really show that size doesn't matter: it's not just top 100 firms that are seeing better results; smaller firms are equally as committed to creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.
"Despite progress, there's still some way to go, with the partnership profile of most firms still showing under-representation of women, BAME, disabled and LGBT solicitors. The leadership of many firms are actively confronting this challenge."