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Law Society of Scotland published diversity data on the profession

Updated: Jul 10, 2021

The Law Society of Scotland has published diversity data that was collected as part of the annual Practising Certificate (PC) renewal process.

The data was collected in order to better understand what the Scottish legal profession looks like and to support and advance the Law Society's equality and diversity work. Around 80 per cent of members completed the data. The Law Society had worked with groups, including SEMLA, to ensure that the information collected was as comprehensive as possible.

Key findings include:

  • The Scottish legal profession is getting more ethnically diverse, although more slowly than the wider population.

  • Just over 88% of the profession is white, with at least 3.38% of the profession coming from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.

  • Almost 7% of solicitors aged under 30 come from a BAME background.

  • While the feminisation of the profession continues, with around two-thirds of all newly admitted members being female each year, there appears to be an acute issue attracting BAME men into the profession, with just 28% of BAME solicitors under 30 being male.

  • At least 18.7% of BAME members of the profession are partners in private practice. As of 30 June 2021, 26.2% of all solicitors are partners in private practice.

  • Of all the partners in Scotland, 2.03% are from a BAME background.

  • At least 3.2% of the profession is LGBTQ+.

  • At least 4.8% of the profession has a disability, such as blindness, deafness or a mobility impairment.

  • More than 46% of Scottish solicitors do not subscribe to a religion.

  • More than two-thirds of the profession mainly attended a state school.

  • A solicitor’s socio-economic background does not appear to affect their career progression once they are in the profession. For example, those whose parents did routine/manual work are just as likely to be partners. However, it appears to be harder for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds to enter the profession to begin with.

The full report can be found here.

The Law Society will collect the diversity data every two years. The next set of data will therefore be collated during the Practising Certificate renewal of autumn 2022.

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