CHANGING LEGAL LANDSCAPE
09 Feb, 2012
The Law Society has set out its framework for equality and diversity for the next four years.
The 2012-15 Equality & Diversity Framework outlines the measures needed to accelerate the rate of progress towards equality of opportunity, greater diversity of the profession and effective, inclusive working practices.
Over the next four years, the Law Society will influence those who shape the business environment in which solicitors operate and work with the regulators to support mechanisms that promote and monitor compliance and ensure equality of opportunity and respect for diversity.
The Law Society will be working closely with the profession to ensure the Framework’s core goals and objectives are met. The Society will also step up its direct engagement with minority solicitors through the delivery of its ‘Career Barriers Action Plan’ and the establishment of dedicated divisions for minority lawyers and women lawyers being launched later this year.
The new framework, which replaces that of 2009-2011, will provide a valuable foundation for the work ahead as the profession moves into an unprecedented period of change with the introduction of Alternative Business Structures and entity based regulation.
To address some of the issues, the Society has in place the flagship Diversity and Inclusion Charter, an instantly recognisable public statement of commitment by its signatories and a framework for positive action across all strands of diversity. Already law firms representing one-third of solicitors in private practice have signed up. Last year, the Society launched the Flexible Working Protocol, presenting a powerful business case and support to firms that wish to implement such practices.
Law Society president John Wotton (pictured) said while the Framework highlighted gaps and issues that need addressing, it was encouraging to see such positive actions from the signatories of the Diversity Charter.
“That so many firms are prepared to make a public commitment, put their own practices under scrutiny and make necessary improvements is evidence that changes are happening.
“The Law Society will continue to champion change in the profession and knowledge of equality and diversity issues through accredited standards and a robust set of performance measures.”