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Leeds University Business School

New research into the legal profession shows that progress is being made in creating a more diverse sector but that women and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) solicitors still face career progression barriers. The research was commissioned and published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and is the most extensive of its type.

Led by Professor Jennifer Tomlinson, the research analysed data of more than 194,000 solicitors between 1970 and 2016. It showed that the proportion of women and BAME people entering the profession has risen significantly. However, career advancement remains an issue as partnerships remain male dominated with just one third of partners female. The best opportunities for females of all ethnicities to become a partner were in small firms, as is the case for BAME males.