17 City firms have signed a pledge aimed at helping BAME lawyers go further in their careers.

The 'Race Fairness Commitment' is intended to "identify and attack" the points at which BAME lawyers fall behind their white peers, all the way from recruitment to partnership prospects.

Corporate declarations of solidarity with black people in the weeks following the killing of George Floyd have been thick on the ground but frequently criticised as superficial PR exercises. The proponents of the RFC say it is different, and demands "concrete, very detailed steps" from signatories.

Participating firms* have pledged to ensure that any outreach programmes they conduct include a proportion of BAME students in line with the relevant school or university population.

Race and racism will also be raised in every induction and exit interview, and the firms will give every junior ethnic minority member of staff access to a senior manager, with a view to creating mentoring - and reverse mentoring - programmes.

The RFC also requires firms to track the rates of black, ethnic minority and white groups moving from application to interview, and again from interview to offer. Data must be collected on the rates at which the different groups are promoted, too, and the rates at which people of different ethnicities leave the firm. A question mark remains over how firms will be held accountable, however, as the RFC only requires them to monitor the data internally, albeit "with a view" to publishing externally, and does not impose targets.

In order to assess whether BAME staff are comfortable in their roles, staff will be asked annually to state how much they agree that they can "be themselves" at work, on a scale of 1 to 10. The check is intended to foster workplaces where BAME people "can be themselves at work as much as White people - without feeling the need to be inauthentic in terms of their speech or culture, simply in order to 'fit in'”.


int

"I'm feeling I can be myself more, but I also feel that Phil should be himself at work a little less."

Roy Appiah, a senior associate at signatory Clifford Chance, highlighted the difficulty for some BAME lawyers to be themselves on the job. Clifford Chance “is undoubtedly a great place to work and I am very fortunate and privileged to do so", said Appiah, but he was "never too far away from reminders that the firm, and the industry", were not designed for people like him to rise to the top.

Appiah cited his security pass being checked twice when he entered the office, and being invited to training about what leadership looks like "where none of the dozen speakers look like you". 

“Being one of the very few ethnic minority lawyers in a department, and seeing very few ethnic minority partners within the firm, showed me that there is a much smaller margin of error for progressing in my career than my White peers", said Appiah. He described how he took the bass out of his voice, and resisted expressing frustration, to avoid providing "ammunition to those holding stereotypes about people like me".

Sengova Kailondo, an associate at Hogan Lovells, said that while his experience had been "very positive", others had been less lucky. He cited having a practice group which "does not have the sort of strong ‘boarding school culture’ that can be prevalent in some law firms".

Ngozie Azu, Slaughter and May's Head of International Relations, said the RFC would help to institutionalise a shift at the Magic Circle firm to focus on personal stories. "How does it actually feel to be Black in a firm like this?” she said. “There will always be areas of differences – for example my unusual name, my hair and how I spend my leisure time. The challenge for firms is to ensure that they are creating an environment in which everyone can bring their most authentic selves to work without fear that our differences will mark us out or impact our ability to succeed”.

Voicing his support for the RFC, BCLP managing partner Segun Osuntokun emphasised the need for greater efforts. “The uncomfortable reality is that despite great strides to improve diversity across the legal industry, we have failed to make enough progress on racial equity", he said. "As a senior Black partner I am conscious of the small minority I represent. The legal industry has a responsibility to ensure the focus on tackling racial injustice we are seeing right now is not a moment in time. If not now, when?"

*Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Clifford Chance, DWF, Dentons, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters, Macfarlanes, Norton Rose Fulbright, Pinsent Masons, RPC, Slaughter and May, Travers Smith and White & Case.

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Comments

Anonymous 10 July 20 08:59

Taking names of candidates and universities off applications for the duration of the review process would be a great start.

"Something must be done - and this is something" 10 July 20 09:12

Very interested to see which firms have signed up. Segun is a good guy, if he's in favour, its worthwhile considering. 

Query whether this is really the wake up call that firms need - public school culture, treatment of women, understanding reality for younger workers (eg WFH is not optional/discretionary) - or just another polite tickbox. 

Brave lawyers publicly putting their names out in this article. 

Anonymous 10 July 20 09:55

"Taking names of candidates and universities off applications for the duration of the review process would be a great start".

 

V good point.  Would also be a great if people could just stop giving their kids ridiculous names.

Employment lawyer 10 July 20 10:00

This is laudable but also dangerous territory.  Legally, there is very little scope for positive discrimination in employment.  Having a mentoring scheme purely for BAME employees is illegal and law firms tend to like to obey the law.

As an employment lawyer, it brings to mind De Belin v Eversheds, when Eversheds gave too much preferential treatment to an employee on maternity leave and then lost a claim for sex discrimination from a male employee who was made redundant.  

How long before we see similar cases from white employees?

Lydia 10 July 20 10:14

Good to keep an eye out for anything which means you are not getting the best people for a particular job. I am not sure working class white boys from Sunderland like my mother's 18 first cousins' children and grandchildren have quite as much a chance at City law firm jobs in London though  so we do need to be careful particularly as the UK is 3% black (and 12% non white) and is 50% female so whilst ensuring the 3% who are black have a fair chance we should not lose sight of the fact we only have 12% highest paid equity partners being female rather than 50% (or even the 80% female I would prefer......)

Anonymous 10 July 20 10:27

"Taking names of candidates and universities off applications for the duration of the review process would be a great start."

Great idea but in practice does not work. So tell me something about yourself "when I was a headboy at [insert posh school/uni] here". 

Also, the manner people speak tells you a lot about their background. 

Anon 10 July 20 10:52

Given that none of these firms took this action   prior to Floyd’s death, and are now only reacting to massive social pressure and the zeitgeist, and no doubt to virtue signal to certain clients, one wonders whether they actually are doing it for genuine reasons......

 

 

The return of Rumours 10 July 20 11:12

Really?

What next - quotas?

The firms I use clearly have a representative cohort of BAME trainees and junior solicitors. There are always BAME lawyers working in their offices when I go for meetings. They clearly appreciate that BAME communities have their academic stars in the same way as every other community. They don't give a stuff about people's colour and they don't need to be told what to do in this regard.

Virtue signalling at its worst. Perhaps we can next consider giving additional protection to those with northern accents - to prevent them from being discounted because of the lack of mouth plum?

 

This is getting ridiculous now.

 

Not fair 10 July 20 12:18

My firms senior partner said if there were two equally impressive Lawyers, one BAME and one white, the BAME lawyer would get promoted. At University the lecturers went out of their way to help BAME students. There are 3 BAME Lawyers in my group, all from well off middle class families and top universities. I am very much working class white, had no silver spoon, single parent family, grew up on a council estate in Manchester, had to take on two part time jobs to get through Uni. Why do they get a leg up just because of the color of their skin? It is so divisive 

Anon 10 July 20 12:28

Yes this is ridiculous.  It’s not like these issues suddenly appeared a couple of weeks ago.  Firms have been aware of them for years and years  and have ignored them to the extent that they can get away with it which means the extent to which their clients pressure them to make the token noises - oh, sorry, unless you include the utterly patronising and virtue signalling “black literature week” for example  which  a number of these firms had last year, where putting up photos of “black heroes” on large screens in reception areas somehow addresses the complex issues at play.   And also cookies and cakes being handed out in the staff canteens in support of said special week.  It’s the equivalent of clapping the NHS.     Fact is, there is absolutely only one thing that the partners in these firms care about.  Money.  They will do whatever it takes and say whatever it takes to protect their incomes.  Let’s at least get that straight.   

Anonymous 10 July 20 12:36

There are a huge number of reasons for the lack of a level playing field in the law and I doubt ethnicity is even in the top 3 (which are probably gender, wealth and family background).

Anon 10 July 20 13:01

A significant part of the problem is that BAME candidates can appear superficially not to have the same academic credentials as their (more privileged) white colleagues.

Almost 80% of white students successfully complete their LPC, compared with only 40% of black students and 53% of Asian/Asian British students (Law Gazette, 4 January 2018).

When law firms review a CV from a BAME candidate with lower LPC or other grades, they might think that this somehow reflects a lack of potential / ability to practise as a lawyer.

In order to correct this impression, we need to do one or both of two things:

a) when marking their exam scripts, ensure that BAME students are adequately compensated for the many socio-economic and racial disadvantages they have faced; and/or

b) take academic qualifications out of the recruitment process altogether. Academic grades tell us little about someone's actual potential ability as a lawyer and only really reveal the social and economic advantages they have enjoyed to date (e.g. private school pupils tend to get better A-level / GCSE results).  There are going to be BAME candidates who may not have the top grades but can make up for that by sheer enthusiasm and drive to succeed.

You're either anti-racist or you're a racist.

The facts 10 July 20 13:16

Asian and Indian Lawyers are actually over represented proportionately in the profession, compared to their proportion of the overall population. 

Anon 10 July 20 13:28

“take academic qualifications out of the recruitment process altogether”

Law is an intellectually demanding profession involving reading and processing lots of data and problem solving under pressure;  and at ages 21/22 etc academic grades are the only objective measurement available.   They don’t need to be the only criteria but someone who  can master facts in any given area, retain them, work under pressure to problem slice and express themselves well orally and in writing is going to be a decent bet for a TC at a good firm.   It would be doing no one a favour to be given a TC at a top firm when they won’t cope.    It’s also likely to destroy the entire benefit of education and the examination and university system, as well as damage those from under privileged backgrounds who are very bright and worked hard.  It opens up more problems about nepotism, people who can bluff at interviews (often those from more “middle class” backgrounds who can give the illusion of speaking well and confidently) and other problems whereas at least grades are a reasonably reliable path to assessing intellectual ability.  In any event many assessments include problem solving tests that require intellectual ability so this point would be relevant anyway unless it’s proposed to lower the bar to such a level that anyone can get a job on £50-60k.  
 

 

YearofthePig 10 July 20 13:40

“Brave lawyers publicly putting their names out in this article.”

The takeaway that I have from this is that the firms that the people quoted work for are fine but they’ve heard that there are problems elsewhere.  Pragmatic, yes. Brave, now?

Dearie 10 July 20 14:41

I wonder how BAME students and families feel about this? Do they think its a step in the right direction or patronising? 

Anon 10 July 20 15:57

'If they are both good candidates...' - the problem starts right there, there is an assumption that white/cis/male are better so if you are not that then you won't be considered as good and so won't get to that point. If it was otherwise you would broadly have similar diversity across all levels but we don't. It's mostly white males of a certain type that are equity partners. Do we think that white males are better than others? really? or is it that despite all the work that firms are doing to support diversity and inclusion while males are still, supported, included, mentored and eventually promoted above everyone else. 

Quotas aren't a problem for me because clearly these issues aren't new and no change has happened. Introduce quotas and then law firms will put in the effort to make sure that those people are good. You are not born a great partner, you are made.

I had enough of 'white' tears. 

Anony mous 10 July 20 15:58

As a black associate, it's disappointing to read comments like these actually and I get the sense that people don't think there is a problem with ethnicity in the legal profession when BAME people are screaming and telling you there is. Why is this being invalidated? Coming from a working class background is really not the same as being black. I actually wish that were the comparator we could live our lives by, it would make life a lot easier.  I think all this initiative is saying is that there is a problem and we need to gather information to understand it and have accurate representation of the wider community...why are people so concerned about this?  I very much doubt that anyone will be taken on if they don't have the qualifications to do the job (the legal profession won't lean that way).

My view is the main issue is progression, someone mentioned that there are trainees and junior BAME lawyers when they go into their law firm, but where are the partners, consultants or seniors? You rarely see them (even less so for black lawyers).

No one is saying there are not other issues in the profession such as gender (where there are plenty of initiatives for this too - would you be against these also?), classism etc, but this is the issue that is being dealt with right now. It's disheartening that BAME people always have to debate this.

Anonymous 10 July 20 17:12

@anon 15.57

"'If they are both good candidates...' - the problem starts right there, there is an assumption that white/cis/male are better

Nobody made such assumption, but you. 

Anonymous 10 July 20 17:20

@anon 13:01

"when marking their exam scripts, ensure that BAME students are adequately compensated for the many socio-economic and racial disadvantages they have faced"

How would that go? Giving extra credits based ethnic background? Or also based on socio-economic disadvantages - that would also apply to non-BAMEs? How about gender, disability, sexual orientation, religious belief? And then? Either nobody cares about credits anymore, because they wouldn't say anything about academic achievements, or you would need to state what bonus points werer give for what, which would make the whole excercise pointless.

What would recruitment decisions be based on then? - Personal preference of the recruiter, assumed qualifications, personal networks. Guess who would have the disadvantage. (The other idea would be a government institution decides who will work where and gets promoted. What could possibly go wrong?)

 

Anon 10 July 20 17:31

I completely agree with quotas (or at least mandatory targets) for BAME partners.  White people benefit and black people suffer from the historical legacy of colonialism and slavery.  To correct the imbalance that has arisen as a result, the SRA should mandate that firms promote BAME lawyers to partner until a minimum threshold (e.g. 30%) has been met.

Anonymous 10 July 20 18:23

If certain categories of persons are given an advantage in their exams then, assuming everyone knows about that, recruiters will just start to make adjustments to get back to what the scores should have been. 

If George Wallace can change.... 10 July 20 19:16

Just because you're more likely to  be killed by the cops if your black and if you're black you're statistically more likely to go to gaol and to get a longer sentence than a white person committing a similar offence doesn't mean  the legal profession in this country is biased.

I mean, where's the proof?

Anon 10 July 20 21:03

The percentage of the population that is BAME is about 12%. The percentage that is black is about 2-3%. Even if firms do become better at promoting non-white lawyers, they will still only be a small minority and the greatest number are likely to be south Asian rather than of afro-Caribbean origin. It is easy to lose sight of the numbers so the emphasis on more inclusive workplaces is right. Silly assumptions that a workplace is not sufficiently diverse if it is not 25% BAME is crazy. I read a bizarre Guardian article recently that cited only 10% of senior schoolteachers being BAME as evidence of some horrendous discrimination, whereas the number was about right, particularly given the age distribution of senior teachers. 

Reasonable analysis 10 July 20 21:12

Can we all please take into account that it is silly to judge today's partners on current norms.  Partners today were, for the most part, training 10-20 years ago.  We need to acknowledge that today's young generation is more progressive than 10-20 years ago.  
 

My entire issue with arguments brought forward is this new expectation that change must suddenly come overnight.  It can't. It will come about in the future when this more progressive generation reaches a standard to become a partner. 

TrollOnFriday 10 July 20 21:17

This is all well and good bit what are they doing to keep tabs on transgender bias? Are they going to fit cameras in the loos? 

Enough 11 July 20 04:17

I am a black lawyer. I do not agree that I am less capable than my colleagues and do not need or want patronising and divisive positive discrimination. This is more likely to come from the liberal left white middle class than the black community, because we know that this is really more about politics and control. There are some racists in human society clearly, and it is not just White people, it’s all races. But I have never felt I was victimised at all in my law firm, the vast majority of my colleagues are clearly decent people and judge and reward me by my achievements. In fact, if I am honest, I probably get a slightly easier path than my white colleagues as people actually go out of their way to ensure I am treated fairly and the firm has policies and practices designed not only to protect me but also to give me some advantages not shared by my white colleagues. Race is just not an issue and people enjoy the diversity. The people who make it an issue are the ones causing division, because it can create resented and mistrust if white lawyers think they are disadvantaged just because of their skin color. And to pick up on a point another made, I am from a fairly well off background, went to a good school and university (where again, the lecturers went out of their way to help and guide me) and I can see why people who happen to be white but did not have the advantages I had can feel resentful if the woke left get their way with attempts to put us all in race and identity groups. 

Anon 11 July 20 08:47

I think most city firms seem have had the diversity thing down, or at least greatly improving for years now. The real challenge is inclusion. I trained at a firm that fell over itself to hire BAME associates and trainees (all of whom were completely qualified for the job, they weren’t given hand outs) but I also saw BAME associates and trainees suffer what we now know as microaggressions that their white counterparts didn’t.
The firm I trained at is one of those signed up to this initiative, and I really hope that internally it’s not just run by the same people. That firm had such a diversity problem many of its partners went to the same primary school (yes, PRIMARY school) when I was there, so they have a long way to go on many many counts. 

Anonymous 11 July 20 09:36

"BAME" people are actually overrepresented in law relative to their share of the population. If we're going for racial determinism, we should be targeting access measures for white lawyers, who are underrepresented. Lazy assumptions are never challenged by virtue-signalling HR teams. 

Elsa 11 July 20 10:21

These comments clearly evidence that there is a problem in the legal industry. I guarantee that the negative or the ones that place themselves as indifferent to the issue are white and therefore cannot relate to this problem. 

Hmm 11 July 20 12:13

 Asian students do the best of all (not just in law but medicine, engineering, maths etc). And Asians are most successful proportionately entering and rising in the professions. How is that caused by “white oppression”?

The truth 11 July 20 12:20

George Wallace, in USA in 2019, nine unarmed black men were killed by police. Most of the police who killed the 9 were themselves black. And 70,000 black men were killed in the same year by other black men.

you are actually more likely to be killed by police if you are white or Asian than if you are black 

Anonymous 11 July 20 22:26

It's fascinating how many people think encouraging black people into positions of power will somehow make everything unfair.

Diversity in Law 11 July 20 22:52

It is clear, evidenced and accepted that BAME lawyers do not progress in the same fashion as non BAME lawyers.  Credit to the firms who have signed up for actually taking action; whether it is sufficient is a different matter. 

Legislation allows for positive and targeted action in the event of under-representation so it is more than a little concerning that a purported employment lawyer thinks such measures are illegal.

Above all else many of the comments on here are ignorant in the extreme and some go further in an attempt to invalidate the legitimate concerns around inequality through creating straw man arguments.  It is concerning that such ignorance can exist in the legal industry which is 20% non-white.  I have faith however that there are more fair minded lawyers who have not commented but understand the need for change. 

Equality is a right not a goal. 

Anon 12 July 20 07:00

Be careful [email protected]! Even if you yourself are a BAME lawyer, if you do not agree with the woke liberal agenda and have different opinions or experience than the luvvies they will try and silence and “cancel” you. You might even get an angry mob trying to make you lose your job. That is the way the left are now. Express some independent thought that differs to that of a Guardian columnist and not only will they try and exclude you, you might be labelled as racist too. They do not like diversity of thought, especially if it comes from a member of one of the groups the left like to consider belongs to them and especially if the thoughts are well considered and sympathetic towards other ethnic groups, as yours were. 

Anonymous 12 July 20 09:22

I was at Osborne Clarke for a few years and it blew my mind at how few BAME lawyers there were. A few male senior ethnic lawyers and even fewer female ethnic lawyers. Any ethnicity. I used to look around, particularly in the London office and wonder if this really was a representation of the city outside. Osborne Clarke had the lack of classism down (although a few Eton pockets still exist in the partnership, Ray Berg, managing partner is state school educated) and they are keen on figuring out the gender stuff, I always wondered if it was because hiring was done in Bristol that meant the firm was so white (people hiring in their own reflection etc etc). It's getting a bit better now at the trainee/junior end now I believe but I am glad this is being tackled within the city. 

Surrendipity 12 July 20 14:03

I really feel for Phil in that photo.

Hang in there, Phil.

One day when this #metoo and #BLM etc gobbledygook is over we squasharians will take our place at the hallowed mahogany tables.

Until that day arrives, keep secreting curried prawns in fellow associates desks with pride and discretion.

Anon 12 July 20 19:53

It's all very well dealing with the obvious discrimination against Black people in law firms, but we need to deal with the issue in other sectors too.

For example, in the NHS only 2.9% of consultants are Black (NHS statistics, March 2019), whereas Black people make up around 4% of the UK population as a whole.  This means that Black people are underrepresented amongst NHS consultants by around 25%.

We need to take immediate steps to make sure that Black people make up a proportionate share of all senior doctors in the NHS. Positive discrimination is perfectly justifiable to achieve this aim: it's a fact that more diverse organisations make more effective decisions so having more Black consultants in the NHS would save lives. The fact that 50,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the UK is at least partially attributable to lack of diversity amongst senior NHS doctors.

The government should take steps to ensure that Black junior doctors are compensated for the  racial disadvantages they have faced when promotion/progression decisions are taken, particularly in areas where the lack of Black doctors is particularly acute, such as cardiothoracic surgery.

 

 

Anonymous 12 July 20 20:01

Yes, well done. Please continue to encourage the sense of entitlement of sub-standard BAME wannabe solicitors. 

Nothing better to water down an excellent profession than moving from a meritocracy to positive discrimination.

I am also part of a minority. No fancy school. No fancy University. Part time work during studies. I managed just fine. By being better than my competitors. But I get it. It is easier for the snowflake generation to scream 'discrimination' than to work hard.

 

Happyhere 13 July 20 04:42

In my group, 40 per cent of the Lawyers are BAME. It is not an issue for anyone, and we all get on very well and don’t even think about our respective races. The only people who keep on flagging our differences are the HR group, who are constantly virtue signalling and patronising. My family came from Kenya originally (I was born there and came to UK for Uni). So a few months ago, HR think it is a good idea to have a “local lunch” week where we are all supposed to prepare food from our respective countries for the group. It was painfully embarrassing for us all. The firm (it is one of those signing up to the initiative) actually tries too hard and they always want the BAME to participate in everything.  My family are well known industrialists and we are fortunate to be rich. I went to the best school in Kenya and Kings London. But because I am black, the firm always assumes somehow I must have been disadvantaged. Not every BAME lawyer deserves or needs kid gloves and to assume they do is actually the most racist stance of all. UK is tolerant, welcoming and fair to me and my family and we have loads of white friends. 
 

The guys in the print room in my firm do a great job. They happen to all be white working class, from East London I believe. They don’t earn much and don’t have job security. I wonder how they feel when the firm goes out of its way to give special treatment and consideration to rich successful Lawyers who happen to be black.

@20:01 13 July 20 19:42

‘Sense of entitlement of sub standard wannabe BAME lawyers’ 

Quite shocked that this racist comment was published.  
 

Is this a statement on all BAME lawyers?  As I am a successful BAME lawyer and am fairly confident that my record and standards would quite comfortably eclipse yours.  
 

Your comments are laughable and I pity the apologists and xenophobes singing their ignorant biased little tunes on here whilst their seniors take action to redress the balance.  Enjoy your little comments sections of the world, your voice is getting quieter and quieter.  Shhh..... dislike away x 

Anon 13 July 20 19:45

Well done happyhere.  Your privileged upbringing has kept you from bias.  How many of your senior partners are non white? 
 

Gaslighting the disadvantage of others may make you feel better and get you some likes but you should perhaps open your eyes as to the progression of BAME lawyers in industry before vocalising. 

@the truth 13 July 20 20:05

Wow.  So how many black officers were killing George Floyd or Rayshard Brooks?  Your agenda is pretty clear, and RoF should get their comments better as this kind of statement inflames the current situation. 

The truth 14 July 20 03:16

@2005, two of the four officers involved in killing Floyd were minorities. One was black and one was Asian. It was clearly unacceptable police brutality and I don’t defend it, to be clear. But what about the three year old and nine year old black toddler killed by Gangsters in Chicago on the same day the week before last? Do black lives only matter if a white police officer is involved? What about the 70,000 black men killed by other black men in USA in 2019? And what about the fact that a white man is three times more likely to be killed by a black man than another white man in USA, after adjusting for the proportions of the overall population? And what about the many white men killed by black police? Why is the assumption always there that racism must be involved when a black man is killed by a white man, when the facts and statistics don’t back that up at all. There is racism in the world of course , but it is not always the privileged evil white man against the downtrodden BAME.

Happyhere 14 July 20 03:23

Looks like [email protected] wants to “silence” me as I have a different view to him or her and do not believe there is systemic racism in UK. I am speaking from my experience. I don’t deny I am privileged, that is exactly the point I am making. Your own bias assumes that because someone is black they cannot at the same time be privileged. Don’t making sweeping assumptions About me  just based on my skin color, ok? And you seem upset that I am privileged. Perhaps you prefer black people to always feel oppressed and unfortunate with a sense of victimhood and bitterness. Sorry anon that I do not match your stereotype. I am very happy in UK and in the profession and I don’t see that evil racism you search for so desperately everywhere.

Fairnessplease 14 July 20 06:13

There are 17 trainees in my intake, 7 are BAME. 6 of the 7 BAME went to expensive private schools and 4 to Oxbridge. I am white, very much working class, went to an inner city comprehensive and a humble university. There won’t be enough spaces for us all to stay in the firm on qualification. I am already hearing that the BAME are to be favoured when it comes to offering places. It is so unfair. It is easy for middle class white kids, themselves likely privileged, to virtue signal and show how progressive they are by pushing for these quotas and positive discrimination but they need to realise it can cause so much division when they do and that there are plenty of people who are not as fortunate as they are. Please judge me on my merits not my skin color. 

Anon 14 July 20 12:08

@happyhere 

Perhaps as you gain more experience you will develop greater analytical skills.  I have at no point said that bame lawyers cannot be privileged, indeed I am one who very much is, and have also achieved greatly in the profession for which I am grateful.  

As you have correctly identified I note the duality of your race and privilege which is my precise point.  So less of the sensational false flagging ok? 

Just because we have been furnished with said privilege then who are you and I to make sweeping comments about the absence of bias just because it has not affected us?  As lawyers the determination factor should be evidence, and it is clearly evidence that whilst firms may take on bame staff, said staff do not progress to senior levels in the same way as white staff, and have 20% less incumbency. 

Facetious comments like ‘evil racism everywhere’ are a straw man argument as nobody has said that.  Frankly weak.  Bias and glass ceilings however can exist without being nefarious. 

Your attempts to draw political lines using tabloid media phraseology are also weak and can only in my opinion be an attempt to engender likes or support rather than have a rational and evidence based debate, like many others here.  But whatever makes you feel better. 

Fundamentally a problem has been acknowledged and people are taking action.  If you don’t want to acknowledge it, I can only hypothesise why, then that is your opinion which you are entitled to - but learn to respecf the experience and views of those who have suffered racism and bias in the country.  I feel for you. 

@ the truth 14 July 20 14:34

It really is against my better judgement to even engage in this but there are around 15,000 people killed annually in the US of all colours. 

So how did 70,000 black men kill eachother that year? 
 

This, like happyhere, is another example of a falsehood in support of a position which is against promoting diversity and equality in an industry where statistics demonstrate serious inequality at senior levels in particular.  Good for you. 
 

I expected a website for lawyers to have an appreciation of evidence over falsehoods.  But I guess it is reflective of society as a whole.  It is more like the Daily Mail comments section here, though credit to RoF for posting comments like mine in opposition. 
 

I echo what the poster above says in terms of people with these ‘opinions’ being left behind. Enjoy your little corner of a comments section.  I’ll save my debate for more educated people. 

The silent majority 14 July 20 14:52

Positive discrimination and virtue signaling will backfire.  I am black and now fear an increase in white people using the anonymous ballot box to vote in far right racist politicians.

Anon 14 July 20 14:57

[email protected], you are so progressive and very brave! Such virtue so eloquently signalled! Moral superiority over someone who has different views to you. I wish I was as lovely as you. Everyone who disagrees must be racist. 

Anon 14 July 20 15:07

The [email protected]:34, the number of black men murdered by other black men is 7,000, not 70,000 so you are right on that. Still, that is around 20 every day and it is a fair point for the poster to make (I will give him the benefit of doubt that there was a typo or misunderstanding, not deliberately spreading falsehoods) I think that black lives only seem to matter to some if they are killed by white cops, and that is a tiny percentage of black men killed. Please don’t read this as a suggestion I do not care or that I am denying racism exists or that I think police brutality is acceptable. I am not sure why you slander the Daily Mail readers by the way, it is by far the most popular newspaper in UK.

Anon 14 July 20 15:13

[email protected], your comment that people who maybe have a different view to you are “uneducated” and are like “Daily Mail” readers says all I need to know about you. Liberal I suspect but not liberal enough to listen to someone who has an opinion that differs to yours and trying to smugly present yourself as morally superior. 

Diversity in Law 15 July 20 08:09

More brilliant views!  

‘Moral superiority over somebody who has different views than you’....is pointing out statistical prejudices and explaining why these are wrong?  Oh dear.  

Assuming a typo rather than agenda.  This dismisses the very prospect of somebody having an intentional bias and promoting this.  Why?

’Uneducated’.  By and large views which ignore facts and arguments which lack coherence, structure and argue points which have never been raised by the other can demonstrate ignorance and a lack of understanding.  I am sorry if this rings true with you, but I am prepared to my make this sweeping generalisation in the same way that many on this comments section have here.  Unpleasant isn’t it? 

‘all you need to know about’ me.  Well, not really.  But you do you! 

‘But black people kill eachother’.  This really isn’t the point, it is one of systemic oppression borne out by facts such as progression in institutions and regular flagrant racial abuse as we have all witnessed. 

Hopefully this will spur some people on to learn more about this important issue.  If you don’t want to or don’t care, well then good for you.  But keep it out of the workplace; there is more reckoning for those that don’t than ever before. 

@15:13 15 July 20 08:14

When ‘a different point of view’ is a prejudiced or ignorant one, it is inevitable that the one pointing out said ignorance will present as morally superior.  And they are, though it is more a case of moral inferiority on the part of the perpetrator.  

Nothing has been said about Daily Mail readers per se but the comments section tends to be vitriolic and right wing - is this another fact that these ‘lawyers’ will deny 😂

Diversity in Law 15 July 20 08:18

@14:57

Your post is just a series of sarcastic and unsubstantiated comments.  Pretty weak really. 
 

And for all those against measures to improve equality (laughable to even type that out) - positive discrimination is illegal, positive action is not.  

@ the truth 15 July 20 08:32

Fundamentally this piece boils down to this; 

It is both statistically evidenced and reported by black lawyers that there are serious barriers to progression in the legal industry for them. 
 

If you deny this fact and are against measures to redress, then read about it.  The facts are there. 
 

If you do not deny this fact and are against measures to redress, then you are racist.  It is that simple.  

So if you fall in either camp firstly just admit it instead of hiding behind falsehoods and straw man arguments.  Secondly, be prepared to have your ignorance called out. 

Tim W 15 July 20 16:25

In my time in City law British asian lawyers were well represented (many, if not all privately educated) and black British lawyers were likely marginally under represented I would say (of those, many, if not all privately educated) but lawyers educated in the state system were grossly underrepresented. I can't help but feel that up until senior associate level class, schooling, and the way you speak are far more discriminatory variables than race. A well polished black man from a public school would suffer to get into a City firm? Hardly.

Anonymously 16 July 20 00:06

How many law firms with majority of whites have a black or asian head? That should be the real test.

What happens if they break their pledge!

Happyhere 16 July 20 06:01

The truth @832, just because black layers say there are barriers to them, does not mean it is true. That can be an honestly held perception, it doesn’t make it a “fact” as you assert. Sometimes the answer cannot always be “blame the white man”. 

i can only repeat as a black lawyer than I do not think I am discriminated against in the industry, quite the opposite. The firm goes out of its way for me and in truth, gives me favourable treatment. I am grateful for and humbled by this. But it is clearly not fair to white and Asian Lawyers (why should an Asian law student have to get significantly higher marks than a black law student to get into the same  law school in the US?) And the constantly shrieking of “racism” by the liberal white middle class is getting very tiring and patronising.

 

 

I wonder 16 July 20 06:05

Many sports are dominated by black people. Does that mean there is institutional racism against whites in basketball? 

Anon 16 July 20 06:50

@0804, just because a view is expressed that is different to yours does not mean it is “prejudiced” or “biased” as you say. That is so typical, anyone who disagrees with you is a nazi/racist/fascist/ignorant/biased/prejudiced/uneducated/ etc etc.

It is perfectly legitimate to express a view that whist racism does exist,  there is no systematic racism in the vast majority of law firms and that most law firms go out of their way to make sure that there is no unfair treatment, to the extent in some cases that white Lawyers can feel they are disadvantaged. You do not need to agree with that, but it is a legitimate and valid view. Some black Lawyers on this thread have sympathy with that view. But not all, that is fine, it’s a debate and we are supposed to persuade eachother. That does not however make me “racist”, I just disagree with your analysis of what the problems are and in fact, I believe that positive discrimination can make the problem worse as it is divisive, gives ammunition to real racists and can make those who are not otherwise racist feel hard done by in that it creates a “them” and “us” attitude. Maybe if you lost your job and get told that is because it is going to someone who has equal skills and achievement to you but who is a different color, you would understand.

ps I am neither black Nor white.

Anon 16 July 20 06:55

Tim @1625, your analysis matches my experience. You are much more likely to get into and succeed in law if you went to the right schools. I can understand why a poor white kid from the state system would feel very hard done by if a black kid from Eton was given priority, all other things being equal.  The virtue signallers (“look at me, look at me! I am so moral....”) will scream racist if you try and logically argue this.

Mr Popular 16 July 20 07:08

The most popular guy in my school was black. He was good looking, athletic, cool, smart, academically high achieving, deputy head boy, charming and liked and admired by everyone.  His family were quite well off I recall (he was one of the few sixth formers to have a car). I am still friends with him and his success and likeability has continued into his career. He seems to be the guy who has everything (now a beautiful wife is added to the list). The idea that he should benefit from positive discrimination just because he is black seems absurd. 

Anonymous 16 July 20 07:27

I don't understand what the controversy is about.

Support for minority groups that have been marginalised and discriminated against for centuries is an act of aggression against the majority.  Righting the structural failures that are both cause and consequence of that discrimination is just a way of covering up the failure of individuals.

It's only through hardship that the cream rises to the top.  I should know.  I went to a public school and then had to slave my way through 3 years at Oxford.  It was tough, but I managed.  I didn't blame the system.  I just got on with it and became a solicitor.

White people will yet again be the victim of these misguided efforts to create a fairer society.

And that's not fair.

Anonymous 16 July 20 07:31

I don't see why black people want legal representation when there are white people to do it for them.

That's just racism.

They should let the experts do it.

Anon 16 July 20 07:45

A proper analysis of why black Lawyers May be underrepresented needs to consider the possibility too that black children are less likely, proportionately speaking, than white or Asian children to want to be Lawyers. In the same way that Asian children are more likely than white children to want to Go into medicine, Indian children are particularly keen on IT and science, Jewish families often encourage their kids to go into banking (or law), Chinese value teaching, Europeans like academia, black children often aspire to be top sports men or women or a big success in the entertainment industry. In Japanese society, the most prestigious and respected job of all is to be a lawyer. In North Europe, it is likely to be a doctor. In Korea, it is a plastic surgeon. In Thailand, it is a monk. In Singapore, teaching is far more attractive as a career than USA. In USA, successful business people often aspire to politics in a way they don’t in Asia. Italians want to work in fashion more so than any other country. Hispanics proportionately want to go into policing and law enforcement than other races. It is not “racist” to point this out, if is just recognising that different cultures are sometimes more likely to aspire to different careers than others and in a sense, it celebrates our diversity. So before we all shout “white man bad” when considering the stats, think about that with an open mind and free of the prejudice and pre judgment that makes it hard for you to acknowledge there is more to it than demonising an entire race.

Anonymous 16 July 20 08:18

@Tedium 15 July 20 07:23

Can’t we just recruit and promote on merit to keep things simple?  

That whole structural inequality thing just passed you by, huh?

Anonymous 16 July 20 10:22

I'm glad the white kids being discriminated against in favour of the many rich black children from Eton are finally being represented.

Prisons have playstations in every cell you know.  And inner city schools all have golf courses and bars for the sixth form.

And still they want more.

Who do they think they are?  I expect they've all got chips on their shoulders.

Anonymous 16 July 20 11:20

Anti-racism is all well and good but I don't see why I or my children should have to make sacrifices for it.

I'm not racist.  I just live in the world as I find it.

If I have advantages why shouldn't I use them?  It's the way the cards have fallen.  I didn't make it like that.

I wouldn't choose to be born black because I think discrimination makes the lives of most black people unfairly disadvantaged but I didn't make the world like that.  I don't see why I should give up my privileged position.  What's in it for me?

Anon 16 July 20 11:38

White people have benefited from centuries of slavery, colonialism and oppression against Black people. It's only fair that the scales should now tip the other way in law firms in order to compensate Black people for these historic injustices. If some white people lose out because of this, so be it.

Anonymous 16 July 20 12:22

@Anon 16 July 20 07:45

black children are less likely, proportionately speaking, than white or Asian children to want to be Lawyers

Because as everyone knows they like to sing and play sports?  And share their watermelon smiles?

Get in the sea.

Anon 16 July 20 12:47

Anon @1138, slavery started in Africa and was prevalent there Long before it reached Europe and America. It still exists in the Middle East in some forms. The Ashanti tribe in Africa were the biggest slave Traders of all and sold other warring tribes they conquered to the Europeans. It is not as simple as “white man bad”, everyone else good. 

Anon 16 July 20 12:54

[email protected], I think it is actually true that if you average out, different races and cultures and nationalities have different preferences for different careers. You don’t seem to agree, fair enough, but then why do you smear the person who expressed that idea with innuendo suggesting he or she must be racist? This is the problem, it is impossible to discuss how to improve things where problems may exist if every time someone wants to discuss a different perspective , they get vilified as racist. 

ALM 16 July 20 12:58

[email protected], you say if some White people lose out, so be it. So punish someone because of the color of their skin? Hold them responsible for the sins of other people hundreds of years ago who happen to have the same skin color, even though they may be wholly innocent and the most fair minded of people? To you it does not matter, they have a certain skin color and therefore must be put into a group with others with the same skin color and suffer because of it? 

ALM 16 July 20 12:58

[email protected], you say if some White people lose out, so be it. So punish someone because of the color of their skin? Hold them responsible for the sins of other people hundreds of years ago who happen to have the same skin color, even though they may be wholly innocent and the most fair minded of people? To you it does not matter, they have a certain skin color and therefore must be put into a group with others with the same skin color and suffer because of it? 

Anon 16 July 20 13:14

This thread reminds me of those videos of the white middle class university students in Seattle screaming in the faces of the black police officers who they labelled as “racist”  because they joined the police. You just can’t debate and talk with  these liberal lefties because every time you make A valid or legitimate point they cannot refute or if they just don’t like what you say, you are “racist” or “prejudiced”. And if a black person says something that does not fit with the oppressed / victimised/ white man bad narrative the lefties obsess over, they go ballistic!

Anonymous 16 July 20 14:01

I wish RoF required people to have a posting account in order to comment on these threads.

I suspect a lot of the comments here are from a small number of posters.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the vast majority are from no more than 3 or 4 individuals.

The same should go for up/down voting on comments.

Until that happens this board is just a troll's paradise.

Anon 16 July 20 14:11

What Britain needs is an equivalent of South Africa's Black Economic Empowerment programme, i.e. a statutory framework that forces companies either to take on a certain number of BAME employees or to have a certain percentage of BAME shareholders (or, for law firms, partners). As Britain becomes even more ethnically diverse, this will be the only way to root out the structural racism in Britain's economy in the long term.

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