Just 0.6% of black solicitors are partners in firms, according to research from the 2013 Diversity League Table published by the Black Solicitors Network.
Just 0.6% of black solicitors are partners in firms, according to research from the 2013 Diversity League Table published this evening by the Black Solicitors Network.
‘This is in contrast to the approximate 33% of students starting a first degree in law who are from a minority ethnic background, many of whom are black,’ the report says.
The average percentage of all black and minority ethnic (BME) partners in firms remains flat at 5.1%, a drop of 0.1 percentage point on last year. The average percentage of BME associates in firms is 11.9%, up 0.4% from last year.
Writing in the report, Chuka Umunna (pictured), shadow business secretary and former employment lawyer at Herbert Smith, said more should be done to encourage BME lawyers and apprentices. ‘I don’t think university is the only route to success at all,’ he added.
For the fourth consecutive year international firm O’Melveny & Myers came top for BME partners (28.57%).
South-east firm McMillan Williams Solicitors has the highest percentage of BME associates (38.98%) and the highest percentage of female partners (47.06%), while magic circle firm Linklaters was named most diverse city firm, with 11% BME partners and 27% female partners.
Commercial firm Withers, national firm DWF, and international firm K&L Gates scored lowest for BME diversity at partnership level, having no BME partners.
The report suggests firms should adopt legal academic Baroness Hale’s ‘tie-breaker’ approach, where candidates from less well-represented groups are favoured when they cannot be differentiated by ability.
Diversity approaches need to be threaded across the organisation and the leage table show the critical role that policies, practices and targets play in ensuring a consistent framework that supports diversity, the report says.