Press Release

LexisNexis and Law Society Survey Shows Legal Profession Risks Brain Drain

Though women in the workforce have seen advances, the legal glass ceiling has yet to crack, according to research

LONDON, 08 March 2012 – LexisNexis UK (, a leading provider of content and technology solutions, today announced the results of the International Women in Law survey. The survey, introduced at the Women in Law summit on International Women’s Day, was co-commissioned with The Law Society. The purpose of the research was to establish the current status of women in the legal world, the barriers to career development, and what can be done to address those barriers.

The Law Society has previously highlighted the drop-off rate of female solicitors over time, and the evidence relating to progression of female solicitors suggests that women are still facing barriers. In all experience bands, higher proportions of men achieve partnership status than women and, for all but the youngest women, the percentage of admitted women who actually hold practising certificates is consistently lower than that for men. These results may cause concern for business leaders in the legal sector who are keen to recruit and retain the best talent—as investment in female trainees is not reaping the desired rewards. Aside from arguments over fairness and diversity in the workplace, many respondents suggested that there was a need to change the existing business culture in order to retain female lawyers and prevent this brain drain.

Judy Vezmar, LexisNexis International CEO, said: “LexisNexis and the Law Society commissioned this survey to explore the challenges women in the legal profession face and how best to ensure that diversity leads to commercial success in law firms. We had an extraordinary response to the survey. It is clearly a hot topic and quite provocative.”

Law Society president John Wotton said the Law Society is committed to helping break down the career barriers faced by women lawyers.

“Major strides have been made by women in the legal profession over many years, but that progress needs to be consolidated. The results of this survey demonstrate that the drive for change is ever present, but a lot more needs to be done. I am confident that the profession will take it on board,” said Wotton.

In terms of the most common solutions to retain female lawyers, the most common was increased availability of flexible working hours and alterations to performance assessment are important. Only a third of respondents believed quotas were necessary to achieve diversity. Given that 64% of respondents considered gender diversity an important commercial issue, the survey is an important conversation-starter for an industry facing major change.

1144 responses were received from across the globe. 85% of respondents were from an Anglo-connected country. 90% who completed the survey were female. The age range of respondents were 30% from 24-34, 43-44 and 45-60+. The research was conducted by LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell®. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell surveyed their international customers and the Law Society surveyed their general membership and signatories to the Diversity Charter.

The International Women in Law Summit 2012 was jointly organised by the Law Society and the USA based National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) and was supported by the Association of Women Solicitors (AWS) and Catalyst.

About LexisNexis Legal & Professional
LexisNexis Legal & Professional ( is a leading global provider of content and technology solutions that enable professionals in legal, corporate, tax, government, academic and non-profit organizations to make informed decisions and achieve better business outcomes. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. Today, LexisNexis Legal & Professional harnesses leading-edge technology and world-class content, to help professionals work in faster, easier and more effective ways. Through close collaboration with its customers, the company ensures organizations can leverage its solutions to reduce risk, improve productivity, increase profitability and grow their business. Part of Reed Elsevier, LexisNexis Legal & Professional serves customers in more than 100 countries with 10,000 employees worldwide.

In the UK, LexisNexis ( online legal solutions include: Lexis®PSL, Lexis®Check and Lexis®Library – named Online Product of the Year at the Legal Technology Awards. Published resources include both Butterworths® and Tolley™. LexisNexis provides the most comprehensive source of legal and tax commentary in the UK.

About the Law Society
The Law Society represents solicitors in England and Wales. From negotiating with and lobbying the profession's regulators, government and others, to offering training and advice, we're here to help, protect and promote solicitors across England and Wales. The Law Society Group includes the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Media Contact
Melissa Higgs
Public Relations
LexisNexis UK
T: +44 (0) 207 400 2689