Look out for the Society's latest equality survey, coming your way in May

In May this year, the Law Society of Scotland will be launching a major piece of research exploring the profile of those involved in the legal profession in Scotland. This research will update our previously well-received diversity research to provide us with an up-to-date profile of the profession and quantify how the profile of our members has changed over the past six years.

The research will also seek to collect valuable information on current working patterns across the profession, and explore your views and experiences of a range of equality-related issues. This is important research which will assist the Society in identifying what actions, if any, are required to maximise the effectiveness of future efforts to attract and retain staff within the Scottish legal profession.

The research will seek to explore:

  • the respondents’ professional background and current employment status/job/role;
  • details of the respondents’ current working patterns, including the extent and nature of any flexible working arrangements and their use of any career breaks;
  • respondents’ experiences of any form of discrimination within the profession in Scotland; and
  • information about the respondents which can be used to monitor the diversity within the profession.


To ensure the objectiveness of the research and the appropriate handling of what may, in some cases, be rather sensitive and/or personal topics, we have commissioned an independent research company, MVA Consultancy, to conduct this research on our behalf. MVA staff will be collating your responses and providing us with a summary of the results and their conclusions. Any data provided at the end of the project will be fully anonymised, to maximise respondents’ willingness to accurately describe their own circumstances, views and experiences. MVA complies with the Market Research Society’s Code of Conduct and Ethical Guidelines, so you can be sure that your participation and responses will be treated in the strictest confidence.

All members will receive a paper copy of the questionnaire and a reply-paid envelope, so that you can return your completed questionnaire directly to MVA. An online version will also be available, should you prefer to complete the survey this way.

All of our previous research has received excellent response rates from within the profession, for which we are very grateful, and which led to key improvements in the work of the Society. Much of our equality work has had a high uptake (for example, our free online training on equality has been one of our most successful online learning packages). The data let us tailor services better and improve the fairness of our regulatory model. They also helped us tackle unfair criticism of the profession, which is more diverse than the stereotypes sometimes portrayed in the media, and to encourage people to see a career in the law as open to them.

We are hoping that you will continue to support us by participating in this research, and that you will find its conclusions interesting and relevant. The full findings will be published on our website, with summaries in the Journal and promoted in other ways.

We know that you are all busy, but in order to work for you, we need to understand you, who you are, how you prefer to work, and importantly, be able to identify any equality or discrimination issues so that we can address these quickly and effectively. With your help, we can continue to develop our services in order to support you and the Scottish legal profession.


The Author
Neil Stevenson is Director of Representation and Professional Support at the Law Society of Scotland
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