The first CILEx Regulation Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Strategy was published in February. A major focus of the strategy is improving the ability of aspiring lawyers to enter and progress in the legal profession, based on talent and regardless of background or route into the law. It also looks to improve access to legal services for all types of consumers.
The strategy was launched with a roundtable discussion on the 10 March 2022. The session opened with an engaging introduction from Seema Kennedy OBE, Chair of Levelling up Law, who outlined the work of the project, setting the tone for a lively and productive session.
Discussion centred on current initiatives within the legal sector to support career progression and how existing barriers negatively impact consumers of legal services. To address what more can be done to ensure that the legal profession reflects the diverse communities it serves, attendees agreed that it was important to standardise the collection of diversity data to capture socio-economic disadvantage. This would then provide a benchmark against which progress can be effectively monitored and underlying issues addressed.
Contributors also discussed how barriers to progression could be overcome, including expressing support for the proposed statement by the Legal Services Board on counter inclusive behaviours.
Jonathan Rees, Chair of CRL, commented: “A number of key themes emerged from the session including the importance of sector collaboration. It is essential that we learn from each other and work together as a sector to improve outcomes for everyone. Ensuring fair access for all is not just the right thing to do but it also contributes to positive outcomes for businesses and consumers.
By working with the sector to tackle counter-inclusive behaviours, we aspire to ensure that everyone working in the legal profession is treated fairly
CILEx Regulation will now use outputs from this roundtable to develop the Strategy we published earlier this year, including continuing to tackle the barriers CILEX qualified practitioners face in progressing in their careers.”
Representatives from legal regulators, professional bodies, the Legal Services Board (LSB), Ministry of Justice, and representatives from the Legal Services Consumer Panel and the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion also joined the session
It is essential that momentum is maintained in this important area and we will now take forward the outcomes from the roundtable, alongside the EDI strategy.