The Profile of the Profession is major study of those working in Scotland’s legal sector. It was last conducted in May 2018, with more than 3,000 Scottish solicitors taking part.

Previous survey results have helped us to:

  • develop and promote our equality and diversity standards to practice units
  • undertake further more detailed research into specific areas including a transgender experience case study, perceptions and impacts of working patterns within the legal profession, and experiences of established legal professionals within the profession
  • focus on gender equality in the legal profession by publishing the sector gender pay gap in 2015 and running a year-long 'conversation on progression’ in 2016
  • use our better understanding of the experiences of parents in the profession, hosting events for those returning to work, and publishing well-received parents in the profession guidance.
Profile of the Profession 2018

The 2018 survey sought the views of all practising and trainee solicitors and for the first time, non-practising members retained on the role and Law Society accredited paralegals were invited to participate.  

Rocket Science logoThe survey, carried out by independent researchers Rocket Science, collected demographic information about the participants and their current occupation, including details of their current working patterns, such as hours of work, flexible working arrangements and use of any career breaks, to explore the changes in the profession in the past five years. The survey was conducted entirely anonymously.

We also asked if solicitors have experienced discrimination and about bullying and harassment issues which they may have experienced personally or witnessed in the workplace.

FAQs

Approximately every five years, the Law Society of Scotland undertakes a census of our members called the ‘Profile of the Profession’ survey.

The results of the survey underpin all of the Society’s equality and diversity work. The last survey in 2013 enabled the Society to complete research on the gender pay gap in the profession and develop and promote the Society’s Equality & Diversity standards to practice units.

All data sent and stored over Survey Monkey is encrypted and only able to be accessed by Rocket Science using our organisation specific log in details.

The last survey was done in 2013. This survey will explore changes to the profession since 2013 as well as new issues not covered by previous surveys. Two prior surveys were completed in 2006 and 2009.

Rocket Science will collate all responses and report on the overall findings of the survey, including comparisons with prior surveys where useful. This report will be provided to the Law Society of Scotland who will publish the findings on their website.

This survey seeks views of all solicitors, retained solicitors, trainee solicitors, and accredited paralegals. If you fall into any of those categories, please fill in this survey.

Respondents are asked to submit their response using the online platform Survey Monkey which can be access by clicking on the survey URL.

If respondents would prefer to complete their survey in paper form, these can be requested from Rocket Science by contacting Clare Hammond at clare.hammond@rocketsciencelab.co.uk or 0131 226 4949. A paper copy will be sent along with a prepaid and addressed envelope for return.

When you hit submit on the survey a completion screen will pop up. You will need to screen shot this and either print or save this screen shot for auditing purposes.

For those submitting a paper copy of the survey, Rocket Science will generate a receipt for you to use for CPD auditing.

No, once you have hit submit your answers are final.

No, to keep the survey anonymous we are unable to trace your individual response for you. This means you will need to complete the survey when you know you have the required time to dedicate to this. The survey will not time out, therefore you can take your time to complete this, just don’t close the page in your browser.

This information will be aggregated and analysed by Rocket Science. This analysis will be written up in a report which will be published. The Law Society of Scotland will use this report to inform their future work programme.

No, all responses are submitted via Survey Monkey straight to Rocket Science. The Law Society of Scotland will not have the log in details for the Rocket Science Survey Monkey account and will not be provided access to the submissions.

Following the Rocket Science report, an anonymised copy of the survey responses will be sent to the Law Society with any identifiable information removed.

No, all responses are anonymised. We will not ask you for your name or organisation. Anything in your response that could identify you – for example where your age, gender and organisation type combined with location in a small area of Scotland could reveal who you – Rocket Science will carefully aggregate and report the data in a way that ensures no one is able to be identified.

This survey should take between 15 and 25 minutes to complete.

The information you provide through this survey is vital for helping the Law Society of Scotland set its priorities for the next five years. In addition, you can claim up to one hour of CPD for completing the survey.

Anything you say in the survey about harassment, bullying or discrimination will not be passed onto the Law Society of Scotland. This means, if you include personal details of yourself or other individuals, this will not be passed onto the Law Society of Scotland. If you would like to discuss anything with the Law Society about specific issues of harassment, bullying or discrimination please contact Rob Marrs at the Law Society of Scotland at diversity@lawscot.org.uk

Rocket Science are an independent research and consultancy organisation headquartered in Scotland. They have been commissioned to provide an independent and objective survey and analysis of the Profile of the Profession. More about them can be found at their website www.rocketsciencelab.co.uk or by contacting Clare Hammond at clare.hammond@rocketsciencelab.co.uk or 0131 226 4949.

For all questions and technical issues relating to the completion of the survey, please get in touch with Clare Hammond at clare.hammond@rocketsciencelab.co.uk or 0131 226 4949.

Previous Profile of the Profession results

This major research involved a survey being sent to all members of the profession and we received 3,400 responses. 

Read the report

During 2009, we worked with the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates to conduct a survey of the Scottish legal profession to: establish baseline data on diversity; identify any potential barriers to judicial applications and elicit views about the factors which do or would encourage eligible candidates to apply.

The 'Changes in the Society's membership profile' report by MVA Consultancy compares the data from Society members across the two surveys to identify any changes in the demographic profile of solicitors since the profile of the profession research was carried out.

Read the report

This project was managed by an independent organisation, The Grange Group, and involved the distribution of a questionnaire to all of our members.

Of around 10,000 members, 3,017 responded, with a good demographic match to some of the data we can already definitively identify from our database of members (such as gender and age profiles). This means we believe we have a dataset we can be confident in.

As this was the Society's first time collecting much of this sensitive data, the decision was made to make the questionnaire anonymous and use a third-party data processor so that individuals were not having to return the data to the Society itself.

Read the report