The Bridge Report - Analysis on class, race and gender in law firms
Even though the social inclusion and explicitly maintaining diversity in a firm or company has essentially become a human resource strategy, the discriminative mindset based on race, class and gender is quite dominant in several law firms of UK. Through several study and detailed discussion on several law firms of UK, it can be determined that law firms of UK discriminate on basis of social class, race and gender and it is not something for the purpose of their commercial brand name but it is their own orthodox mindsets that allow them to do so. While the social class discrimination by the law firms are due to the conflicting commercial imperatives but such discrimination also attracts only limited success to the law firms of UK as well. Even though the 1997 elected Prime Minister of UK, declared in his early days the discrimination based on social class is no longer the norm of UK, the rhetoric spectrum of the labor party was soon destroyed by the 2007’s social mobility examination which is known as the Milburn review .
In this section, we shall thoroughly examine and understand the events of discrimination that still prevails in the United Kingdom on the basis of race, class and gender with special reference to law firms and we shall critically analyze how such discrimination has been increased or decreased over the years and whether such discrimination has caused the nation a great loss of talents.
The discrimination on the basis of class, race and gender in law firms
The concept of discrimination that prevails under the radar of the prestigious law firms of UK often influences many scholars to provide a constructive mapping of the same in order to provide a better insight at the matter. While it is true that these studies do not exactly suggest or speak of the exclusive social class discrimination, it definitely provides us with the idea of such pattern. From a reputed research paper, it was pointed out that the leading law firms of UK often privately educate the trainees who have attended and old prestigious university such as Oxford or Oxbridge . Also, in the year of 1998, the educational charity - the Sutton Trust held a survey and therefore published a report that 59% of the UK’s leading law firm’s partners were educated from a prestigious, high fee paying university. Even though the picture has changed in the year of 2004 when it was seen that more than 73% of the young partners of the law firms of UK come from the background of new university but the competition is still there . However, the law firms often provide with the reason that the older the university, the better the qualification and the education of the person, but this reason does not hold still for a society that is not privileged equally. The people from less privileged social economy, often talented, cannot afford to go to a high-paying university, despite the scholarship and other student loans .
The same barrier of discrimination holds good and proper in the case of gender and race as well. From various researches, it is to be seen that during the period from 1970 to 2000, the inclusion of race and gender were essentially discriminated and the leading law firms of the UK were mostly dominated by the white males. However, the pattern had slowly started to change from the mid 1990’s period and as such it took a better turn for the inclusion of the ethnicity group in the time period of 2009-2010 .
The essential increase in number of Black male and females and overall gender upliftment that includes males and females from BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnicity) rapidly increased during the period of 2000 to 2006. It was seen from various research that the inclusion of Asian descendent female solicitors rapidly increased by 4 times from the mid-1990’s ratio. It is to be seen that the Asian males also showed the same rapid increase of inclusion under the leading law firms herein . Also, in the same manner, it has been exhibited that the number of female solicitors from the BAME community has rapidly increased in the year of 2015 which can be termed as a two-fold rise from the year of 1990 . In the year of 1970, the number of female solicitors present in different leading law firms of UK was only 10% of the total number of employees of that firm and from various reports and researches, it has been seen that the number has gone up to 60% in the year of 2016, which essentially shows progress. From the research paper of Aulakh , it is to be seen that while in the year of 1970 to 1990, the majority of the solicitors in the leading law firms was white male, the pattern has drastically changed by the end of 2016 which shows an inclusion of different ethnicity, race and gender which essentially includes BAME.
Critical analysis of discrimination on the basis of race, gender and class in leading law firms of UK
While from various reports and study of the UK, it can be seen that the positions of the BAME and the women has drastically changed under the radar of the leading law firms, it cannot be denied that the position does not still provide us with all the necessary inclusion as well. The subtle discrimination on the basis of class, race and gender still prevails under the radar of the leading law firms of UK and as such, it has been seen from the reports of Shinner that the class seclusion or discrimination on the basis of class is still the biggest problems of UK. In critically dissecting the situation of UK’s leading law firms, it can be stated and held that while the obvious HR strategy of the leading law firms have provided a surface level inclusion of the BAME males and females in law firms of UK, these people still struggle a lot in order to establish a secure position as a high-class solicitor or being a partner of a leading law firm. From various research studies, it has been seen that while 70% of the white females can secure the position of being a partner, it is only 11.3% of the black females can secure the same position as the white females.
Hence, critically analyzing the stated position of herein, it can be said that even though the HR strategy of the same has essentially linked the position of the BAME males and females in the leading law firms, it has not been done unconditionally but it has been included for the purpose of showing the inclusion the face of the rapid change in diversity of the population and the globalization law firms.
Conclusions and suggestions
While it is unnecessary to mention that the inclusion of BAME and prohibiting express discrimination on the basis of gender, class and race has been one of the elucidating questions for the leading law firms of UK, nonetheless, the change is gradually be seen inside the composition of the law firms of UK and more and more people from the minority ethnicity and women has been coming on the front of the law firms. While it can be denied that the discrimination still prevails and works at a deeper level in the minds of the people of law firms, the whole picture has changed a lot since the 1970 where majority of the solicitor represented only white male of UK.
Also, in order to enhance the class struggle and eliminate the class discrimination, the leading law firms of UK can take various initiative in order to fund students from the backward community, which has already been started under the radar of various leading law firms of UK but it is necessary to understand and mention that this needs to done more rapidly and it needs to recognize the struggle of the under privileged talented students from the backward socio-economic background herein. Further, for better representation of the gender, class and race on the upper hierarchy of the law firms, an annual report on the same shall need to maintained by a neutral agency who cannot be influenced and also, the government should take active part in understanding the organizational pattern as well.