Never thought I'd ever say this, but...

...fair play to Leigh Day.

Good to see some action being taken to address the shocking lack of diversity and inclusion in the legal community in the UK.  We are light years behind the US and many others in dealing with the problem.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/firm-advertises-for-black-applicants-to-fill-demographic-gap/5101463.article

I always think class is a bigger diversity issue in law firms then race. I have met more middle class  black city lawyers than working class origin  cockney ones of any race

How the fuck did they go about advertising for that without seeming patronising,discriminatory or hugely out of touch?

Class diversity is certainly an issue.  I consider myself working class, came from a poor household and went to a Comp but I think (partly because I did OK) there are much tougher barriers for black students compared to any other barriers.

What a load of tosh.  Anyone can apply for any job if they have the qualifications and can be bothered.   This is discrimination.  What about Chinese people or Banglasdeshi people.  What a crock of virtue signalling shithouse.

*waits for some fucking chump to say either "you wouldn't be allowed to have a white quota" or "why not recruit the best person for the job"*

Well Badders they will have approached not being discriminatory by saying they’ve complied with the positive action provisions of the Equality Act 2010.  I can’t speak to the other value judgements but I personally applaud them trying to address the problem.  

As someone who instructs law firms, the company I work for an I expect a diverse range of people working on our matters.  Good firms realise they can’t just ignore this shit any more.

*waits for some fucking chump to say either "you wouldn't be allowed to have a white quota" or "why not recruit the best person for the job"*

Why don't you give up your job for an ethnic minority?  Or must only other people be forced to do so?

 This is discrimination

Yes it is.  It’s lawful discrimination.  There is loads of it out there mate.  Like letting disabled people park right next to the shops.

In fairness to them its also just for the apprenticeship route so is naturally going to trend towards working class as well given they will all be non-degree students.

Not entirely sure about the idea of two birds with one stone though when your "lets get some non-traditional backgrounds" people in is also your "lets get some BAME people in" (actually "lets get some B people in" but that is another issue).

Yes well done to Leigh Day for discriminating on the basis of race.

Leigh Day says it is looking for six students of Afro-Caribbean or African heritage to begin the five-and-a-half-year programme in 2020.

Applicants must have completed A-levels in London, to a good grade level, and must want to train as solicitors without taking the university route.

The absolute state of this. 

Yeah, Afro-Caribbean or African. Whatever, they're all black, right? All the same aren't they? Oh, and only apply if you're from London too because we couldn't possibly put up with any regional accents. God, we might get a Welsh one. Eurgh, can you imagine!

PAGING SIR PITT CRAWLEY

THE EARLY SEVENTIES CALLED AND ASKED FOR THEIR SOCIAL ATTITUDES BACK

I'm sure this will be open to white South Africans. 

Yes, @Alan Partridge, the girl I trained with who was the granddaughter of a former president of a major African nation whose mum and dad were both really successful bankers had a far harder time than I did as the Northern son of a single mother scraping a living as a nurse...

Cheesetoastie out of interest would you get rid of the positive action provisions of the EqA?

I think everyone should have equal opportunity.  You tell me why a black youngster should be allowed to apply for this job but not one of bangladeshi origin.

Cheesetoastie out of interest would you get rid of the positive action provisions of the EqA?

I would have to look at them again, as has been a while since I did.

As a general principle, I am against positive discrimination. 

As someone who instructs law firms, the company I work for an I expect a diverse range of people working on our matters.

Genuine question, but why? If you work for a company that requires this, then I understand (even if I think the policy is ridiculous), but do you personally give a shit.

Has anyone ever thought "that tax advice was great, but there were just too many honkies on that conference call. I like my advice to be a bit more, I dunno, Bangladeshi. Can you reissue the memo and have a brown person do some of the typing please?"

Alan, no i mean they must have really worked on the campaign hard to not get called out on it.  As you say, fair play to them.They could have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons had they misjudged it (i.e. it was interpreted to read "we want thick brown people please").

@SirPittCrawley raises a good point. Unemployment figures for Pakistani women are quite shocking so why can't they apply. What about our ethnically Chinese community? Why don't they get a look in? What about ethnic Roma, why are they excluded?

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if the advice is correct or wrong - it's that it was provided by an ethnic minority that matters. 

 

 

Just spotted this too. 

Existing staff have also been given unconscious bias training to ensure the recruitment and retention policies encourage staff from all backgrounds.

There is no evidence whatsoever that this sort of training works. None. Zilch. Nada. Why do firms continue to throw money at these charlatans?

unconscious bias training - then they consciously issue a biased job advert.  

I'll tell you why they do it - VIRTUE SIGNALLING BULLSHIT

 

 

I suppose it is too much to expect lawyers to base their decisions on good evidence...

Leigh Day have run a general program for trainees from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and of wider BAME origin for a while.

I assume they're launching this specifically targeted program because they feel like they aren't getting any recruits of Afro-Caribbean or African heritage even within the more general scheme. 

Feel free to keep screeching about how it's definitely concern for Pakistani women that means you have a problem with this though. 

Leigh Day have run a general program for trainees from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and of wider BAME origin for a while.

Because all black people are poor. They're all the same aren't they?

I assume they're launching this specifically targeted program because they feel like they aren't getting any recruits of Afro-Caribbean or African heritage even within the more general scheme. 

Why does this matter? Why does a law firm need to "reflect the community". We don't have many interesting and well-adjusted people in law, should we run a special scheme for them so the profession is not so dominated by insecure, tedious nerds?

Feel free to keep screeching about how it's definitely concern for Pakistani women that means you have a problem with this though. 

I could not give less of a shit what the demographic breakdown of law firms is. I do take issue with discrimination on the basis of race. I know the law says this is okay, but guess what, we don't all always on agree on what the law should say. I know my fellow lawyers often find that point very difficult to understand. 

If I ran around my firm saying "there are too many women of Chinese ethnicity in this place. We need to redress the balance" people would rightly think I was completely fucking nuts.

I find it very difficult to believe that UK law firms in 2019 are rejecting applicants on the basis of their skin colour. Except, ironically, if they have the wrong colour skin for programmes like these.  

why else would anyone be annoyed?  

but as I said to someone else above, why don't you give up your job Pancakes so an ethnic minority can have it or do you only enforce this policy on young people starting out their career? 

I just hate unfairness and "do as I say, but not as I do" attitude of so called liberals.  Liberal with other people's careers but not your own. 

Unemployment figures for Pakistani women are quite shocking so why can't they apply.

What are the unemployment figures like for women of Pakistani heritage who have been educated to A-level standard in the UK?

What SirPittCrawley, said. You don't combat racism (which is very thin on the ground in this county anyway) with more racism. 

I don't buy the arguments that they want to "reflect the population" either. That is horseshit. 

About 3% of the British population is black. Are you really telling me that Freshfields would say "We had 20 excellent black candidates for TCs this year, but as we only have 100 places we will have to reject most of them"?

It is different for a shite ambulance-chasing firm like Leigh Day, but why should international firms like Freshies reflect the UK population anyway? 

 

Lady Penelope what are the unemployment figures like for black people who have been educated to A-level standard in the UK?

i think it's a stupid plan but whatever who would want to work there

I have a friend who manages a team in the midlands. Mostly professionally educated Pakistani/Bangladeshi women. A number of them are not permitted by their husbands to attend meetings outside the office.

So it's not just education that matters.

“This at least holds out the chance of role models encouraging others from similar communities. If you wait for the profession to stop being racist and classist you’ll be waiting a mighty long time. But who wants lawyers who sound working class? To say nothing of ethnics.”

This post has been brought to you by the 3 dux bot currently in development - stay tuned for further news. 

are you guys simple?!

its not about them “not hiring good black candidates”

its about good black candidates not applying to firms because they don’t think they’re for them. I can’t imagine why they think they’d be chock full of thick middle aged white men....

 

I have a friend who manages a team in the midlands. Mostly professionally educated Pakistani/Bangladeshi women. A number of them are not permitted by their husbands to attend meetings outside the office.

So it's not just education that matters.

Indeed. Still, we have to pretend that all cultures are equal or the HR snatch squads will kick your office door down. 

@torontochick why would any good candidate of any ethnicity want to apply to Leigh Day?

Lady Penelope what are the unemployment figures like for black people who have been educated to A-level standard in the UK?

I think it's the case that children from Asian backgrounds are more likely to overperform compared to their white peers, whereas black children are more likely to underperform.

Yes, the employment rate for Pakistani women in the UK is low, but that will include a lot of middle aged and older women who are homemakers, some of whom will be first generation immigrants who don't have any education or employment history in the UK and don't speak fluent English.

I think the situation for young women from Pakistani backgrounds who were educated in the UK is quite different.

Once you control for age and whether someone has been educated in the UK or not, you do tend to find that black people are the most underrepresented.

well, personally I think it should be considered a form of coercive control to treat your wife like that but leaving that aside

I am not really into diversity as a value to be pursued

I think it should be genuinely and truly irrelevant

if that could be achieved then racism and sexism would be impossible

I don't care if all the lawyers in a firm are old white men (or if none of them are)

well, personally I think it should be considered a form of coercive control to treat your wife like that

Isn't it?

I don't care if all the lawyers in a firm are old white men (or if none of them are)

If sex and race were irrelevant then there is no way all the lawyers in a firm would be old white men though.

The continued dominance of old white men is a sign that sex, race and age are still very relevant.

well that is my point

but it will never become irrelevant as long as equality policies are predicated on emphasis of difference

@Rhamnousia, this is why you are my favourite. This sort of clear thinking and (as mentioned previously) in my head you are a shorter, taxier version of Karen Gillan.

There is nothing inherently good or bad about diversity. There are vanishingly few places that are less racist than the UK and race is pretty much irrelevant here. 

As in almost all societies, how much money your parents have is the single best predictor of life outcomes. 

I would far rather be born a rich, black, privately-educated girl from Cambridge than a poor white man from a council estate in Inverness even if you could guarantee me the same A-level results in both cases. 

"shorter, taxier version of Karen Gillan" is going on my business cards

although it will confuse people for a lot of reasons

Yeah but a rich, black, privately educated girl from Cambridge is not going to be applying to Leigh Day in the hope of taking the non-graduate route to becoming a solicitor.

The kind of people who are taking that route are more likely to be people from disadvantaged backgrounds who for whatever reason didn't go to university even though they were probably capable of it. And then your hypothetical black person has probably got more in common with your poor white man from Inverness than your posh black girl from Cambridge.

@Lady Penelope, I assume you mean the senior people in law firms and I assume you mean the majority of them are old, white men. 

If we accept that this is the case (increasingly it is not) this says less about society today than it does about society when they were starting out which I guess would be the 80s.

It does not make sense to expect the top of a profession to perfectly reflect society as it is now. It takes time for people to filter through the system and reach the top. 

Also important to note that the demographics of the UK in the 80s were very different from today's. 

In 20 years, i expect there to be a lot of British kids with Polish surnames in senior positions in a wide range of industries for example. 

In 20 years, i expect there to be a lot of British kids with Polish surnames in senior positions in a wide range of industries for example. 

That would be a sign that things have improved, certainly.

And then your hypothetical black person has probably got more in common with your poor white man from Inverness

Indeed. So why exclude him (and the Bangladeshi girl) from this programme?

Rhamnousia, you had better send one of those new business cards (with glamour shots on the other side) to me so I can pin it to my office wall. 

Not sure what a tax-lawyer glamour shot looks like. Presumably you use those big yellow books to preserve your modesty? 

And then your hypothetical black person has probably got more in common with your poor white man from Inverness

Indeed. So why exclude him (and the Bangladeshi girl) from this programme?

Rhamnousia, you had better send one of those new business cards (with glamour shots on the other side) to me so I can pin it to my office wall. 

Not sure what a tax-lawyer glamour shot looks like. Presumably you use those big yellow books to preserve your modesty? 

well you had probably been wondering why tf we still insist on buying them despite their being readily available and more efficiently collated online now

I had previously assumed it was so you could build fortifications if HMRC came knocking. Either that or for battering juniors round the head with. 

they are actually designed so that they will tumble and crush anyone who tries to remove them in a non-CIOT-approved formation

Indeed. So why exclude him (and the Bangladeshi girl) from this programme?

Because black people are the demographic Leigh Day specifically feels are underrepresented.

its about good black candidates not applying to firms because they don’t think they’re for them.

Yes mulady. It be so good dat you know mah thoughts an all ma’am. But you be right dat ah do believe dat ah’m not belonging in dah white man’s world. Yes indeed praise da lord 

Panda, you are such a naughty scamp. A funny naughty scamp though. 

hahaha that was funny.  but because it's accurate.  the Dems in America, Labour here, think they own the black and ethnic votes.  The irony is they are the ones keeping them down.

Torys - the nasty party.  2 female prime ministers. Muslim home secretary. Jewish Foreign Sec.  Female leader of the House,   Black mayoral candidate.  Black co-chairman of the party.

Labour - nothing but virtue signalling shite. 

 

 

I am not an employment lawyer, but I thought positive action could only be taken in situations where there are 2 candidates of equal merit for the job, or alternatively to advertise roles where certain demographics are under-represented?

If they are refusing applications from whites end of then is this not unlawful discrimination?

What happens if someone who is white applies for the job but self-declares as black?  

The have opened up a Hornet's nest.  This will probably end up in the ET and it will be good - bring popcorn!

 

I wonder if Boots are going to follow this splendid lead and not entertain job applications from Asian pharmacists given their current over representation

To be honest, I don’t really dare comment on this kind of issue anymore.  

It’s pretty obvious that lots of people who do get stuck in have strongly-held views on either side and are happy to sacrifice almost any other thing to preserve their personal view of exactly what is correct on these issues.  That clearly includes destroying the careers and livelihoods of anyone who disagrees with them and indeed of people who almost totally agree with them but differ in some slight detail.   

I leave it to history to decide in a century’s time who was most in tune with the times.  

 

 

 

 

Well this thread went as I’d expect it to.

There are several posters who say “why do you want diversity anyway?” 

Giving legal advice is usually about solving problems.  Solving problems in teams is easier when you have a wide range of approaches and opinions.  While white middle-class Oxbridge types may be jolly clever, they may just all be programmed to think very similarly.  

When I instruct external counsel they will often be working directly with people in my company who are very diverse - both in background, class, ways of thinking (lots of neurodiverse people working in science).  This doesn’t work well when firms send the same identikit types with superiority complexes.

We also hire a lot from external counsel, so if we want to be diverse and inclusive (which we do for these reasons) instructing non-diverse firms isn’t very clever.

There is also a range of research mainly in Financial Services showing more diverse teams have greater returns on investment.  It isn’t just because it’s the right thing to do (which it is), but because it makes sense - especially in an industry like mine which is based on innovation and technology.

This is good on it:

https://www.goldmansachs.com/insights/talks-at-gs/jayne-anne-gadhia.html

Let's be honest - who would want that shower of shit on their CV anyway?  

Lol @Alan Patridge. we are talking about lawyers not dance troupes overcoming their differences and learning from one another before they sweep to success in the big dance competition.

"Hmm. Hey Flavia, come over here please. Lupita, Vladislav, Leiming and I are really stuck on this piece of advice on the extent of the definition of a CFD in English law. We have checked FSMA and PERG, but we still don't know whether this proposed product would be caught. Can you help?"

"*Flavia samba dances into room*.

"Ay ay ay, ese. You are not looking it at it from all angles, hombre. It's like my Abuela always says, the important thing is to look at the legal rights granted under the contract and forget about the labels. On that basis this is clearly out of scope"

"My god, Flavia. You are quite, right. I would never have seen that solution because I am so stuck in my post-industrial, Northern, lapsed Catholic ways. Thank god you are here to provide a fresh new perspective". 

"Molodets, Flavia. Srazu reshila nasu problemu. Ty pryamo umnitsa takaya. Spasibo bol'shoe".

"Yes, quite right, Vladislav. I could not agree more".

This is fucking gold btw and I demand it is recognised as such. 

Agreed.  That is class.  I might even screen grab it.  

Sincere or not, I appreciate the validation because I am a pathetic and insecure lawyer with no real friends. 

Lol at Cheesetoastie. 

I think it’s worth pointing out though that they’re offering them the apprenticeship route not the standard grad route but made easier.

ive worked somewhere where they tried to hire deliberately underprivileged people and it was a disaster because if you parachute someone who for example doesn’t have an A level in maths into a junior role in an engineering company and they are just not educationally equipped to do the work you are not helping anyone. You’re killing teams and you’re going to wreck someone’s confidence. But ‘yay diversity’

There is plenty of evidence that this training works, but don’t like scientific facts get in the way of your poor informed rants 

Also plenty of evidence that increased diversity in a team increases productivity and performance. But don’t let facts get in the way of your fear of working with the blackman

Oh right, that one article you found on google totally disproves all the evidence to the contrary.

 

The profession, faced with the choice of which to surrender, seems to have given up homophobia in favour of keeping racism. As has society generally, tbf. But social mobility is the biggest loser of the triumph of the “meritocracy”.

I am not a fan of positive discrimination on the basis of race generally as it is a total can of worms but this does feel like a genuine effort to do something and the fact they are offering the non-university route at all is certainly to be applauded.

Speaking as another working class boy who 'did OK' my sense is we have actually gone quite a long way backwards post 2008 in getting people from disadvantaged backgrounds in through the door of law firms.

I don't think diversity of protected characteristic equates to diversity of thought or aptitude, I think that's a flawed (and arguably racist etc) assumption.

One of my best friends after uni was Chinese. We were completely alike in how we thought and analysed and worked despite totally different diversity tokens. We brought the same thing to any table. 

If employers want diversity of talent they need to completely change their hiring practices to focus on, um, diversity of talent. They won't, though, because they're demonstrably not interested in changing or improving how they do things. They'd rather just treat everyone as different coloured tiddlywinks on a board. It's dehumanising.

And quite 1970s. I'm looking forward to that old way dying out.

Of course diversity of background (including protected characteristics) equates to diversity of thought or aptitude.

You can perhaps run an argument that three white, black and asian kids who grew up in the same street and went to the same school might think the same, but that's missing the point.

The work I do is usually international.  If we start a big project we make sure we have people from the US, Sweden, China, UK and other markets if possible.  We also try to make sure we have a good gender and age split, as well as race.  The biggest catastrophes have always happened when (for example) a team has been entirely US or Swedish and can't see how people in other countries would react to their national-centric plans.

I get this loads of ITS POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GAWN MAAAAD dinosaurs still exist (as evidenced on this thread) but honestly anyone who objects to a firm which has considered underrepresentation in its ranks and is going to give an apprenticeship to a black kid from inner London needs to have a long hard word with themselves.

Oh, and BTW I've never had any firm of any reasonable size say that they are anything other than committed to diversity and inclusion and are taking concrete steps on it.  And we notice when they bring a gender and race diverse group to a pitch and then do the old switcheroo on our matters after!

Identifying that positive discrimination is discrimination (and calling it “racist” or “virtue signalling”) doesn’t score any points.

The question is whether, for the greater good of society, it should be used to redress an imbalance.  There are pros and cons to this, like everything in life.  For me the pros outweigh the cons and it’s a good initiative.  I can see the counter view, but it’s where I come down on it.  

Wellers, it is an article written by an expert (professor of psychology at North Western) who has reviewed the relevant literature, but I am sure you know better...

Pinko, your mum was a teacher you once said. By Teesside standards m888 that makes you upper middle class!