typical lawyer

If seen, do not approach this man. Not with that tie.

A team at the University of Law has made the most of lockdown by compiling an e-fit purporting to represent the British public's idea of a typical worker in the legal industry, and RollOnFriday is sorry to report that it's an estate agent.

Ulaw generated Frankenployee after surveying 2,000 members of the public. Their answers produced a diversity killer who is male, 35-44 year-old, clean-shaven, tattoo-free and unpierced.

Patrick Johnson, ULaw's Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, said the research "has highlighted a stark reality, which is that more needs to be done to give solicitors septum rings and ink up bazzas redefine what someone working in the legal industry can look like. It is no longer a profession solely for upper class white males, but in fact, accessible to all".

Legal regulators hope the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam and cheaper Bar courses will improve access to the profession in England and Wales, and hasten the demise of the privileged legal stereotype represented by the e-fit. 

However, the survey results indicate that the public's conception of law is marginally less pale, male and posh than the e-fit suggests. 

While 48% of people pictured those working in the legal industry as white, 12% pictured them as BAME and 38% pictured them as having any ethnicity. And although 25% pictured legal industry workers as male, 19% visualised them as female and 55% saw them as male or female. The public was more certain on class, with 48% or the respondents picturing someone in the legal industry to be upper middle class, and 8% picturing them as upper class.

According to the SRA, law firms actually surpass the diversity of the UK workforce in key areas. Its data suggests that 49% of solicitors in law firms in England and Wales are women, compared to 47% in the general UK workforce, and that 21% are BAME compared to 13% of the workforce in England, Scotland and Wales. There are indications firms are disproportionately posh compared to the wider population, however. Although only 21% of solicitors in law firms attended a fee-paying school, that was three times the national average.

Inspired by ULaw, RollOnFriday's profiling team worked up an e-fit representing the legal profession’s idea of a typical member of the public:

efit public

Tip Off ROF


Sumoking 12 February 21 09:43

are there any numbers on whether the BAME part of the profession is disproportionately private school?

suspect the 'look how good we're doing on diversity, some of my best friends are french!' line might be hiding a bigger barrier there (would hope not, but come on, it's law ffs, we only just did away quills and this whole site is a homage to 'wRiting On the Fox'

Anonymoose 12 February 21 10:16

@ 09:43 


Indeed.  My magic circle firm is very hot on diversity.  There are plenty of women and BAME trainees.  They all have the exact same privileged background as the white men that came before them however ...

Arachnae 12 February 21 10:18

I'm a girl lawyer currently sitting here waiting to do a Zoom wearing my Lady Hale girly swot t shirt.

Anonymous 12 February 21 11:06

Doesn't surprise me and considering how hard it is for women, BAME and LGBTQ to make partner when old white middle class men hold the majority of the partnership in most firms, which is why others eventually up and leave, I'd say public perception is correct.

King George 12 February 21 11:07

Are we supposed to be concerned that 21% of solicitors were privately educated? 18% of A level students are in private schools.

Anon 12 February 21 13:34

It would be worrying if most lawyers are not posh, considering that the best educated and cleverest people in the country are privately educated.

Anonymous 12 February 21 15:04

Weird line from the SRA that law firms 'surpass the diversity of the UK population'. Does that mean that we can pat ourselves on the back for over-achieving in relation to the diversity of our legal secretaries, 99% of whom are women? And can the overwhelmingly male partners of firms congratulate themselves for surpassing their quota of female associates?

Mystic Meg 12 February 21 16:19

Surprised the e-fit fails to mention bags under eyes, perpetual self loathing and a marriage to a former colleague held together by nothing more than hopes and dreams 

Paul 12 February 21 17:17

Anonymous 12 February 21 15:04

"Does that mean that we can pat ourselves on the back for over-achieving in relation to the diversity of our legal secretaries, 99% of whom are women? "

In my (lengthy) professional life to date I have only met two male secretaries.  You can't employ male secretaries if they don't exist.  It's always been a bit of a mystery to me why men don't want to do it, but clearly they don't.


Anonymous 14 February 21 00:25

The former senior partner at BLM had a penchant for truly terrible ties. Every morning brought with it a novel breach of good taste.

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