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LSB allows more flexible approach to improve legal diversity

Encouraging diversity is not only the right thing to do, it makes business sense, says SRA

16 February 2017

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The Legal Services Board has issued revised statutory guidance for regulators on improving diversity within the legal profession.

The changes announced this week place a focus on improved outcomes and aim to ensure all regulators go beyond merely collecting diversity data.

The revised guidance allows regulators freedom to deliver their own, targeted approaches to improve diversity in their respective professions, while also making sure that much needed progress will be made across the sector.

The LSB’s chief executive, Neil Buckley, said: ‘Diversity is a key issue on which the LSB places great significance. We believe that a more diverse profession will support the delivery of legal services and encourage innovation in the sector.

‘Our new guidance gives regulators greater flexibility and will help the sector find new ways of developing the diversity of the workforce and assist in collecting and using the valuable data gathered in the last five years. The guidance will support the excellent work some regulators are already doing in this area, and encourage those still developing their approach to continue to work towards a more diverse profession.

‘We will be reviewing the progress made by regulators in August 2017 and expect the regulators to have started to use the greater flexibility offered by this guidance to make positive strides to address this issue.’

Jane Malcolm, the Solicitor Regulation Authority’s executive director for external affairs, welcomed the LSB’s proposals. ‘Encouraging diversity is not only the right thing to do, it makes business sense.

‘A diverse sector is a strong, competitive sector and we want to see the best people from every background thriving in law. We are working closely with the profession and progress is being made, but there is more to do.’

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