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Women in Law Pledge launched for England & Wales

24 June 2019

A Women in Law Pledge, committing signatory employers to achieving gender equality at higher levels in the legal profession, has been launched by professional bodies south of the border.

The Law Society of England & Wales, the Bar Council of England & Wales and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) together launched the pledge at the Law Society's international symposium on gender equality.

Law firms, local law societies, barristers' chambers and organisations outside the legal sector will be invited to sign their name to the pledge, which is supported by Justice Secretary David Gauke.

Organisations who sign the pledge will commit to:

  • supporting the progression of women into senior roles in the profession by focusing on retention and promotion opportunities;
  • setting clear plans and targets around gender equality and diversity for their organisation; and
  • publishing their action plan and publicly reporting on their progress towards achieving their goals.

Figures show that women still find it harder than men to advance to more senior levels in the profession. Among solicitors, for example, although women now make up 50.2% of practising certificate holders in England & Wales, of the 30,000 partners in private practice only 28% are women.

"As a profession which strives to uphold justice, the legal profession must be at the forefront of the fight for gender equality and diversity in the workplace," said the Society's President Christina Blacklaws.

"In signing the Women in Law Pledge, legal organisations across the country will hold themselves accountable for gender equality in their workforce and commit to creating a more diverse profession."

Richard Atkins QC, chair of the Bar Council, added: "This pledge reflects the joint understanding between the legal professions of the importance of diversity. It will allow chambers and organisations in which barristers work to demonstrate their commitment to a balanced and equal future for all."

Click here to access the pledge.

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