2012 Report: Career Progression in the Legal Sector


In 2010 the InterLaw Diversity Forum collaborated with the Law Society on the study The Career Experience of LGB Solicitors.  (The report can found on the Law Society’s website here. It was published alongside reports on women and ethnic minority solicitors, collectively called The Barriers Reports.)

This was followed by the InterLaw Diversity Forum’s 2011 report Barriers to Application for Judicial Appointment: LGBT Experiences, which included a preface from the then Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission. (The report can be found here.)  This report was cited in the Report of the Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity chaired by Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE, and was instrumental in the Judicial Appointments Commission’s decision to change its policies on LGBT applicants, which included initiating monitoring of sexual orientation.  (See JAC press release here.)

In July 2012, the InterLaw Diversity Forum, with support from the Law Society and the Bar Council, surveyed almost 2,000 respondents from all strands of diversity and inclusion in the UK legal sector.  From this data it published its ground-breaking report Career Progression in the Legal Sector, with a preface from Baroness Patricia Scotland PC QC.  The report combined hard data with respondents’ perceptions of their own career progression, as well as their perception of the fairness and transparency of policies and practices in their workplaces.  The goal of the report was to identify the barriers facing these diverse groups and to provide recommendations to address and ultimately solve these issues.  (The full report is set out here.)

The InterLaw Diversity Forum is now collecting data to update its Career Progression Report for 2017 by assessing what progress has been made in the UK legal sector since the original report.  At a later stage it will report on data collected in the United States and Europe. The updated report will aim to track progress, identify barriers, and determine the best ways to effect positive cultural change in the legal sector.

Research Co-lead:

Lisa Webley, Professor of Empirical Legal Studies, University of Westminster