Society diversity

Law Society’s diversity data provides the most comprehensive picture of the profession to date

Law Society’s diversity data provides the most comprehensive picture of the profession to date



Diversity data collected as part of the annual Certificate of Practice (CP) renewal process has been released by the Scottish Bar today.

Diversity questions were first included in the PC 2020-21 renewal process, to better understand what the profession looks like and to help support and advance the Law Society’s work on equality and diversity.

Around 80 percent of members completed the data, providing the most comprehensive picture of the diversity of the profession to date, how it compares to the diversity of the Scottish population at large, and the challenges facing the profession. confronted.

Lawyers were asked to provide information on their ethnicity, disability, religion, sexual orientation and social background, including the type of school they mainly attended and the occupation of their parents. The data has been automatically anonymized to protect the identity of members.

The main findings include:

  • Almost 7% of notaries under 30 are from BAME.
  • 88 percent of the profession is white, with at least 3.38 percent coming from a BAME background.
  • About two-thirds of all newly admitted members each year are women, and only 38 percent of all BAME lawyers are men.
  • At least 3.2% of the profession is LGBTQ +.
  • At least 4.8% have a disability, such as blindness, deafness or reduced mobility.
  • Over 46% of Scottish solicitors do not adhere to any religion.
  • More than two-thirds of the profession mainly attended a public school.
  • The socio-economic background of a lawyer does not appear to affect his career progression once he is in the profession. However, it seems that it is more difficult for people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds to enter the profession initially.

President of the Law Society of Scotland Ken dalling said: ‘We have undertaken this research to better understand the Scottish legal profession and how it reflects the society it serves. The information obtained provides essential and useful insight into the makeup of the profession and the challenges we face. While it is heartening to see that the profession is diversifying, there is still room for improvement.

“With the majority of members filling in the diversity information, we have our strongest database yet to help us define effective policies that address the issues identified. We will do everything we can to help encourage and support equal opportunities across the profession, and this data provides us with a set of key benchmarks against which to measure our progress towards a truly inclusive profession.

The full report can be found here.