According to a survey by British magazine Legal Week about the drive for greater legal diversity in the UK, lawyers consider racial equality the “number one issue.” An August 30 article reports, “No one thought sexual orientation was an issue that law firms should monitor or promote in their efforts to increase diversity.” This non-issue attitude seems to be borne out by Vault’s 2007 solicitor survey results. Asked about their firms’ commitment to hiring and promoting gay and lesbian lawyers, the responses among our UK lawyers were notably thin.
While one openly gay lawyer says that sexual orientation is not an issue, he nevertheless adds, “I do find it better to keep a low profile. Many gay people have been hired here and no heed has been paid to their sexuality. However, the environment is still very conservative and traditional. Most law firms are.” A common attitude is reflected by this remark from a lawyer at the Bristol-based Burges Salmon (No. 7 in diversity for GLBT lawyers): “Sexual preference is irrelevant to the work we do—so not an issue and also not generally known.”
– posted by vera
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