News release

Solicitors regulator takes Pride in a modern legal profession

For the third year running, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will be supporting the Birmingham and London Pride festivals.

SRA staff will be joining the Birmingham parade this Saturday (27 May) and the London parade on Saturday 8 July to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) culture.

This is part of the SRA's ongoing commitment to promoting and supporting a diverse, open and accessible legal profession, providing services for all the community.

Previous SRA research shows that while there does not appear to be evidence of barriers to progression, only 3% of solicitors identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. This compares with Stonewall's estimate of between 5-7% of the wider population. What is not clear is if this is due to a true under-representation or a reluctance to declare sexual orientation.

Recently the SRA worked with 15 law firms to develop a support package to help encourage a more inclusive workplace. This includes a transgender-positive checklist, videos and guidance offering practical tips and knowledge on changes they can make in their firm.

Jane Malcolm, SRA Executive Director said: "We are delighted that we are supporting two of the largest Pride festivals in the UK. This will be a celebration of both the wider LGBT community and the role it plays in a diverse, modern legal profession.

"It is important that we have a truly diverse profession, attracting the best talent and reflecting the community it serves. We want to understand how the profession is changing and any barriers to progression. So we have made changes to our forthcoming 2017 firm diversity data collection exercise, adding in a new question about transgender that provides an option for solicitors who do not identify exclusively as male or female."

The SRA will be joined at the Pride festivals by other organisations from the legal sector, including the Bar Standards Board, Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, Council for Licensed Conveyancers, Intellectual Property Regulation Board, Legal Services Board, Legal Services Consumer Panel, Legal Ombudsman and local law firms.

Further information about Birmingham Pride is available at www.birminghampride.com, and further information about London Pride is available at www.prideinlondon.org.

 

Note to editors

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, through the introduction of the Sexual Offences Act in 1967.