Response to SRA Regulatory Reform Progammme Consultation.
We refer to the section at para 60 on Recording and Reporting of Diversity data.
We have no objections to and indeed we support the introduction of a new Outcome requiring solicitors to have in place appropriate arrangements for monitoring, reporting and publishing diversity data. We also endorse the SRA’s proposal to provide links from the Code of Conduct to sites offering information on collecting, reporting and publishing diversity data including compliance with data protection legislation.
We also have no problem with the SRA making it clear that the terms of a law firm’s equality and diversity policy may be spead over several documents.
We do however consider that the recommended Diversity Questionnaire could be improved in two ways.
Firstly, questions 1 and 3 divide solicitors into just two categories – sole practitioner, partner, member, director ie “owners” and assistants, associates, and consultants ie “non owners”. In fact there is a subdivision between owners into those who are full Equity members/ partners etc and those who only own a Fixed share in the business. We would like to see separate data for this class of senior solicitor as this would assist monitoring and therefore hopefully reducing the underrrepresentation of women solicitors at the top of the private sector of the profession.
Secondly, although questions 13 and 14 ask about caring responsibilities there is no enquiry about Flexible Working.
About Association of Women Solicitors, London
Association of Women Solicitors, London was founded in 1992 and its aims include representing, supporting and developing the interests of women solicitors. Membership is open to all women solicitors and trainees and associate membership to other women lawyers including barristers, legal executives and paralegals.