I was not surprised by your front-page article on the stagnation in diversity among the profession. The problem is that most solicitors are useless at business. The number of business failures shows that many lawyers have a poor grasp of basic issues.
They pay themselves more than they earn and drive showy cars because, as ‘oh-so-clever’ lawyers, they can dump creditors and transfer the firm to a new entity of which they remain in control.
These firms operate as the working-day extension of the golf or rugger club. Women are features of their machismo, not business assets. The strong business is the one which identifies, recruits and nurtures the best people.
However, it is a huge mistake to think in terms of quotas. Poor businessmen will make poor recruitment decisions when acting only to tick a box. I speak, incidentally, from experience. My two partners and all other staff are female. In spite of me being the ‘token’ male, we seem to be doing rather well.
John O’Donnell, senior partner, odonnells solicitors, Preston