Pace of diversity at senior levels 'painfully slow'
UK Diversity Legal Awards to profile those that engender greater diversity and inclusion across the legal profession
The UK Diversity Legal Awards is returning for its eighth year in 2017 to highlight the achievements of UK legal businesses in championing diversity and inclusion within the legal profession.
These are the only industry awards which focus solely on recognising and promoting diversity, inclusion, and equality across the legal profession.
Nominations and submissions are invited from firms, chambers, in-house legal teams (private and public sector), and suppliers to and individuals within the legal profession.
Submissions may cover one, some, or all aspects of diversity, including gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and social mobility. The entry deadline is 31 July 2017.
Research published by the Law Society this week finds that the proportion of solicitors from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds has more than doubled in the last decade.
However, at partner level the proportion of BAME solicitors has risen by just under 1 per cent since 2015. Meanwhile the gender diversity gap among partners remains: 40 per cent of male solicitors became partners compared to less than 20 per cent of women.
Paulette Mastin, chair of the Black Solicitors Network and counsel at Linklaters, said: 'In recent years, there has been an increased focus on improving diversity and inclusion, and studies have repeatedly shown that improving diversity and inclusion lifts business performance. However, the pace of improvement in the senior ranks of the legal profession has been painfully slow.
'We believe that increasing the visibility of role models and sharing best practice are important factors in tackling this issue. The UK Diversity Legal Awards are committed to doing just that by showcasing and profiling the excellent work being done by individuals, teams, and organisations to engender greater diversity and inclusion across the legal profession.
'The accomplishments of winners of these Awards truly inspire others in the profession to follow their lead in shifting the dial on diversity and inclusion.'
Solicitors Journal is proud to be a media partner of the UK Diversity Legal Awards 2017.
View 2016's winners here.
John van der Luit-Drummond is deputy editor of Solicitors Journal