We research and promote practices which would make the profession more representative of society
For example, currently access to the profession depends on subjective judgement and not on quantifiable criteria. A mere shift to providing training contracts or pupillages on quantifiable criteria, would significantly improve access to the profession and, as a result, access to justice.
To reduce inequality in access to the legal profession, the UKLSA:
Regularly organises large multi-university events;
Supports students by providing help with access to the profession; and
Supports school pupils in deciding whether to pursue a career in law.
Access to justice partially depends on access to the legal profession:
Inequality in access to the legal profession leads to a legal profession not representative of society it represents
A recent paper shows that, beyond financial equality, equal access to justice requires a legal profession which is representative of society – currently being a disconnect in values, knowledge and experiences between lawyers and their clients. The paper shows that inequality in access to justice mainly occurs at interview stages – which are subjective and highly unreliable – meaning that the current practices prevent the legal system from being representative of society. The paper proposes that law firms and chambers introduce standard entry tests for pupillage and training contract; and that Law Society, the Bar Council and the Inns of Court could contribute to this. Read more…
For 5 consecutive years, the UKLSA has organised the UKLSA Annual National Equalities Conference
2 Feb 2016, hosted by the Law Society and supported by its Junior Lawyers Division. Speakers include, Chairman of the Bar: Chantal-Aimee Doerries QC, President of the Law Society: Jonathan Smithers, Hilary Heilbron QC, Barrister and Leading international Arbitrator, Brick Court, Sir Robin Knowles CBE, High Court Judge; Chairman of Together for Short Lives; Chair of Trustees at Legal Advice Centre (University House), Fergus Randolph QC, Brick Court Chambers – Conference Chair, Koser Shaheen, Attorney, Cleary Gottlieb; Vice Chair of the Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division
Equality in access to Justice and the profession
“Without access there is no justice” – Mr J Knowles at the UKLSA’s 5th Annual National Equalities Conference. Access to justice, if not equal, can be harmful to members of society. For example litigants in person, or those who cannot afford expensive legal teams, are often faced with legal costs of opponents who hire sophisticated legal representation.
Sponsors (and collaborators) of our Equality projects
Our annual conferences on equality have been sponsored and hosted by The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, by Linklaters, by the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, the Society of Asian Lawyers, the Law Society of England and Wales and the Junior Lawyers Division. We are grateful to all our sponsors for supporting the UKLSA’s work towards promoting equal access to justice and the profession.