Representation in the legal sector: what do the latest numbers tell us?

Representation in the legal sector: what do the latest numbers tell us?
According to the Law Society’s latest Annual Statistics Report, the proportion of ethnic minority solicitors has more than doubled since 2000, although they continue to be significantly under-represented at partner-level. It also found that the number of practising solicitors was over a third higher than ten years ago and over two-thirds of that growth accounted for by women. However as solicitors got older, the figures reflected the reality that women were more likely to leave the profession and not return. Funke Abimbola, managing counsel for Roche Products Limited and diversity champion, considers the findings of the Law Society’s Annual Statistics Report, interviewed by LexisPSL.

What does the Law Society's latest report tell us about the state of representation of women in the profession?

The report confirms that the following issue still remains a very real one—while women are attracted to the legal profession at entry-level in droves and account for almost half of solicitors with practising certificates, retaining women solicitors and progressing to the more senior levels of the profession remains a challenge. It is also interesting that there are more women solicitors working in-house than there are male solicitors, possibly given the slightly different culture working in-house as opposed to private practice.

What about the ability of private practice law firms to retain women lawyers? Is there a particular problem with retention in the larger City firms?

This remains a real issue due to the fee-earning/billable hours business m

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