Law Society taskforce aims to address inequality in legal profession

Sixteen people chosen from minority, disability, LGBT+ and lower socioeconomic backgrounds

The Law Society has assembled a gender equality and diversity taskforce as part of an effort to address inequality in the legal profession. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

The Law Society has assembled a gender equality and diversity taskforce as part of an effort to address inequality in the legal profession. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

 

The Law Society has assembled a gender equality and diversity taskforce as part of an effort to address inequality in the legal profession.

The taskforce is made up of 16 people from minority, disability, LGBT+, and lower socioeconomic backgrounds, the society said. It will make recommendations on how the society can encourage more women and solicitors from diverse backgrounds to take up key positions on the Law Society’s council and its committees.

The group will also draw up a set of guidelines legal firms can use to achieve greater gender equality and diversity in their firms.

Law Society director general Ken Murphy said the legal profession had already made positive inroads in the area of gender equality.

“In 2014, we became the first legal profession in the world to have a female majority. Last year 52 per cent of our members were women,” Mr Murphy said.

“Currently 34 per cent of partners in the largest seven firms in the country are women. In one firm this figure is 44 per cent. Last year 37 per cent of new partners in Irish law firms were women.”

The Law Society currently runs a mentoring scheme for female solicitors, and an access programme for students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

The mentoring programme, which started three years ago, pairs senior women in the legal profession with those in earlier stages of their careers. The society also runs an access programme for students, which it says has supported more than 200 trainee solicitors from disadvantaged backgrounds.