Costs Lawyer profession nearing gender parity but ethnic diversity lags behind

Some 46% of Costs Lawyers who declared their sex are women, virtually in line with the UK working population, according to data collected by the Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) at the end of last year. It said 52% are men, but 2% of respondents preferred not to say.

Only 44% of Costs Lawyers completed the voluntary survey.

Just 7% of Costs Lawyers identified as Black (1%), Asian (3%) and minority ethnic (3% ‘mixed’), compared to 13% of the general workforce and 21% of lawyers working in solicitors’ firms. (2% preferred not to say.)

Of those who declared their sexual orientation, 6% said they were gay, lesbian or bisexual – notably higher than the 2.7% of the general population and 3% of solicitors; 89% said they were straight, and 5% did not say.

The proportion of Costs Lawyers who said they have a disability (7%) is lower than the UK working age population, but Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) figures put the number at 3% of lawyers working in law firms. (4% preferred not to say.)

The survey found 44% of Costs Lawyers have no religion or belief (including those who report as atheists), with Christians the largest faith group at 42%.

One in nine Costs Lawyers (11%) attended a fee-paying school (6% with a bursary and 5% without). This is higher than the UK population, where 7% attended fee paying schools (2% with a bursary and 5% without), but far lower than among solicitors, where the figure was 21%.

A slightly higher percentage of Costs Lawyers (21%) said their parents held a degree compared to the UK population (19%) but far lower than solicitors (51%).

Some 42% of Costs Lawyers have primary caring responsibilities for children (34% among solicitors) and a further 9% for someone else, the same as solicitors.

The CLSB added: “The latest survey did include a question on gender identity, but the percentage of ‘prefer not to say’ answers compared to the percentage of respondents who we might expect to answer ‘no’ to the question (is your gender identity the same as that which you were assigned at birth?) means the data is unreliable.”

The regulator said there were three strands to its diversity and inclusion programme: improving the quality of its data, engaging better with the regulated community and assessing the likely effectiveness of regulatory interventions to improve diversity and inclusion.

“One of the advantages of small regulators, with a relatively small regulated community, is that we may be well placed to reach and involve those Costs Lawyers who have an interest, expertise or valuable experience to contribute and share with us,” it said.

“Making the most of this advantage is a key priority for us over the next year in diversity and inclusion activities and also in other areas of our work.”

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Costs News
Published date
01 Jul 2021

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