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Law Society launches legal profession census

03 June 2013 | tagged News release

Over 13,000 solicitors and trainees will be asked to contribute to a major study into the legal profession in Scotland.

The Law Society of Scotland is carrying out new equality and diversity research which will quantify how the profession is changing. It also aims to collect information on current working patterns and will ask solicitors for their views on and experiences of a range of equality related issues.

Neil Stevenson, Director of Representation and Professional Support at the Law Society, said: "This is our equivalent of the census. The legal sector continues to go through a period of rapid change and it's important for us to be able to collect information about our members to ensure that we can represent them properly to government and other interested parties and also so that we, as our members' professional body, provide the right kind of support on particular issues.

"Previous equality research led to work to combat bullying, a challenge to improve equal pay and changes to policy for those entering the profession. We have also been able to put paid to the myth that the legal profession is an old boys' network, when almost half the profession is now women, and in 2009 only around 6% of all respondents reported that either parent worked in the legal sector.

"We have had an excellent response rate in the past, with over a third of the profession taking part, and I hope that we will achieve just as good a response rate this year. This will allow us to tailor our work to ensure we can meet the needs of the profession as we move forwards and also to be able to identify equality or discrimination issues so that we can address them.

"This year survey includes questions about people's work patterns. In 2009, 64% of members worked more than 41 hours a week, but with increasing use of technology and more and more people looking for a better work life balance, we're keen to see if this is having an impact on the working lives of solicitors."

The survey is being carried out by independent researchers MVA Consultancy, who will provide a statistical summary and anonymised report to the Law Society in the autumn.

ENDS

Notes to editors The results of previous equality and diversity research can be found on the Law Society website

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Val McEwan on 0131 226 8884 or valeriemcewan@lawscot.org.uk

Solicitors with inquiries can contact Neil Stevenson: neilstevenson@lawscot.org.uk

03 June 2013

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