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The dandi issue

Diversity Statistics (SRA, 2020)

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    ​Ethnicity

    The largest firms have the lowest
    proportion of BAME partners (8%),
    despite there being 21% BAME lawyers
    in the industry

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    Gender

    49% of lawyers in Law firms are Female, but only 29% are Partners

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    Social Mobility

    21% of lawyers attended fee paying schools compared to 7% that attended fee paying schools in the wider UK population

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    Disabilities

    Those declaring a disability working
    in Law firms is 4% much lower compared to a total of 13% of disabled people making up the UK workforce

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    Religious Beliefs

    Muslim lawyers make up 3%
    of lawyers in the largest Law firms, despite there being 10% of
    Muslim lawyers in the wider industry

Overcoming the diversity challenge

The diversity statistics above are truly astonishing. Firms are beginning to feel the commercial impact that their clients are understandably placing upon them if there is inaction towards workforce diversification. Law firm clients are already taking bold action; from automatically renewing the panel position for the most diverse Law firm they work with, through to clients withholding 15% of a Law firm's billings if they do not meet certain diversity targets. The pressure is mounting.
Diversity research clearly points towards some of the best candidates from underprivileged backgrounds performing less well in higher education but performing better than their peers later in their careers. In fact, a recent study in the UK suggests that candidates who attend low performing schools (bottom 20%) and significantly outperform their school peers were much more likely to perform better than the average Lawyer at their firm. This type of candidate is often referred to as an 'outperformer'.
The same study also identified that a high proportion of candidates that fit the profile of an 'outperformer' were less likely to be shortlisted than candidates that attended a fee-paying school. The evidence would suggest that the Legal sector is inherently bias towards factors in a candidate's application that may imply 'privilege'.
We believe pipelining diverse talent at the entry points of the profession, followed by retention of that talent, will be key to unlocking diversity at the top.
Dandi is here to challenge the status quo and do everything we can to promote a fairer graduate recruitment process, whilst showcasing the positive commercial impact that diversity could have on your firm (here).

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