LGBT History Month: Supporting Diversity in Legal Careers

February 17, 2020, By

We are proud supporters of diversity in the legal profession. This is evident through the people we employ, the causes we support, and the services we provide. As it is LGBT History Month, this is a great opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that are happening to support diversity across the legal profession.

LGBT History Month gives us a chance to reflect on what we, our colleagues and employers, and our entire profession, can do to create a landscape of equality and diversity for all. By remembering what people went through to get to the stage we are at now, we can think about how we change the future.

Making History

This month, we have seen LGBT history being made as the first legal same-sex marriages in Northern Ireland took place.

The first openly gay judge, Sir Terence Etherton, was sworn in as Lord Justice of Appeal in 2008. Since then, the LGBT community and its supporters have worked hard to encourage more diversity within the legal sector.

The Law Society LGBT+ Lawyer’s Division group on LinkedIn is a great hub for support and guidance. It also hosts events throughout the year to encourage engagement across the community and the wider profession.

In this blog, we take a look at what is currently happening to nurture and promote diversity in the legal sphere. This covers not only LGBT+ rights, but those of disabled and ethnic minority legal professionals, too.

Diversity Access Scheme

The Diversity Access Scheme is a long-standing initiative. It offers diversity scholarships for LPC fees, professional mentoring and work experience in careers in law.

Circumstances under which people may be able to apply for this funding are broad. These cover gender, sexual orientation, disabilities and health conditions and ethnicity. Applications open February 17th, 2020.

The Legally Disabled Project

A report from Cardiff Business School found that:

  • 60% of solicitors and paralegals experienced ill-treatment and discrimination in the workplace
  • 80% of the above believed it was related to disability
  • 54% disabled solicitors/ paralegals thought career prospects inferior to non-disabled colleagues
  • 40% never or only sometimes tell their employer or prospective employer they’re disabled

If you are experiencing discrimination or ill-treatment at work due to a disability, you can find out more about what to do on the Legally Disabled site.

Regional Diversity & Inclusion Forums

The Law Society’s Regional Diversity & Inclusion Forums are held quarterly to discuss concerns and best practice in the particular area of discussion. To make them accessible to a broad audience, they are held in different locations around England and Wales.

For more information on the upcoming events and how to get involved, visit the site.

Bringing Diversity and Equality to the Legal Profession

The Slater Heelis family are strong advocates of diversity. We do not just pay lip service to it but have representatives on The Law Society’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Resolution (family law) Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

We actively get involved to promote change and support equal opportunities. We have a great relationship with the LGBT Foundation in Manchester, where we run regular clinics.

Slater Heelis provides family law services for LGBT clients and offer employment support for discrimination at work.

We are a friendly and inclusive bunch. Join the conversation and help us to create more diversity in the legal profession.