You can always trust a regulator to see a glass half empty rather than half full. Take the latest release by the Solicitors Regulation Authority of data from its biennial diversity survey. It was published last week along with a stern injunction from chief executive Paul Philip that there is ‘much more to do to achieve a truly diverse profession’.
Philip is of course right: worrying discrepancies range from the low percentage of Afro-Caribbean men across the profession to the way the representation of women declines as the earning power of a job increases.
But with some of the figures the SRA seems to go out of its way to paint a gloomy picture. Take the increase in the proportion of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) solicitors in law firms. According to the SRA, ‘This is up 6%, from 14% in 2014 to 21% in 2017.’
Not so. Obiter’s maths is a little rusty, but we make that a rise of seven percentage points – or 50% in real numbers in three years. Solicitors are now nearly twice as likely to be from a BAME background as the UK workforce as a whole. Surely that is an achievement to be celebrated? Unless, of course, you are a regulator.