Is the legal profession still dominated by men in 2011?
The results of an in-depth study carried out by the Law Society last spring – in which a random sample of 1200 legal practitioners were interviewed – have been released. Perhaps surprisingly, as there is certainly a feeling within the legal field that women lawyers are become more predominant, the report indicates that the legal world is still dominated by men.
The most shocking statistic seems to be that only 5% of those interviewed said that they were either a head of practice or at managerial level, and 69% of those were men.
Private clients (non legally-aided) made up the biggest percentage of work (47%), followed by business clients (41%), whilst only 20% of the work done was legally aided. The report shows a marked difference in the work done by males and females with 57% of men more likely to work with private businesses, and 59% with charities. Whilst, 58% of women were more likely to work with legally aided clients.
Quite significantly 61% of men had carried out business and commerce matters in the last 12 months, as opposed to only 39% of women, with the highest differential was in those working in criminal law, with 67% male and 33% female.
88% of those interviewed worked full time, and 85% of those working part time were females with children. Interestingly, only 5% of equity partners worked part time.
More than 75% worked in firms which allowed flexible working, and whilst 62% took it up, only 36% used the opportunity every week or nearly every week.
Whilst the Law Society president, Linda Lee, said the Society’s diversity and inclusion charter aimed to address gender imbalances in the profession, all in all, the current picture for women who want a successful career in law is not painted too rosy. However, Robert Addy, partner at CRA Legal, a specialist legal recruitment firm in Sheffield says “Whilst this report seems to show that female solicitors are not rising to the heady heights of their male counterparts, my own experience is not quite as stark. Many of the firms I work with have female partners (some with children and who work part time), some of them senior and particularly high profile. I have placed many women into commercial and senior roles in the region, and see no reason why I will be unable to do so in the future.”
Robert can be contacted at CRA Legal on 0114 241 8030 or email Robert@craconsultants.com. www.craconsultants.com