I write in response to the letter ‘Mentoring mistake’ in the Gazette of 21 September.
The Law Society mentoring scheme supports individual solicitors from diverse backgrounds to develop and progress in their careers. We are grateful for all feedback on this and other pilot schemes, as it enables us to develop our programmes for the benefit of the profession.
For the pilot year, the mentoring scheme is open to groups we know to be particularly under-represented at the top of the profession: women, members of ethnic minorities, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and disabled people.
The scheme will also be providing mentors to the Law Society’s flagship social mobility initiative, the Diversity Access Scheme, which is set up to address the barriers faced by students of all ages from disadvantaged backgrounds.
As an organisation which is putting in place development activities aimed at building greater inclusion and addressing the under-representation of people from different populations at senior levels, in this first stage of the programme we decided to prioritise our efforts based on our analysis of the profession’s demographics.
This programme is in addition to other diversity and inclusion initiatives we run.
We hope the mentoring scheme will make a significant contribution to those who participate and that the programme will develop further beyond this initial pilot. We will be reviewing the programme before the second annual cycle, taking into account all the feedback we receive during the year.
Jonathan Smithers, president, The Law Society, London WC2