Does your racial background matter to law firms ?

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Liraz89
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The simple answer; yes.

Given the fact that I am due to qualify as a lawyer in the coming months I felt it was important to write this article as I feel the observations have made along my journey are worth sharing in the hope it can help other BAME candidates / students. You are the lawyers of the future !

I obtained my Legal Practice Course back in 2015 and was ultimately unable to secure a training contract. I currently work for a top 10 UK law firm but nonetheless; it ended up being the case that I opted for the SRA ‘Equivalent Means’ Route. This essentially circumvents the need to do a training contract and allows you to qualify with a portfolio of work showing that you have attained the experience equivalent to that of a trainee solicitor. In a nutshell, you have all the same rights as a solicitor under the law but have not undertaken a structured training program.

I actively started working in the legal sector upon completion of my LPC and it is here that I began experiencing issues firsthand that could only ever be attributed to racism, classism and prejudice. I can think of one major incident in which a female Muslim worker who had acquired an LPC, had a number of years of experience within the department was refused a job in the team above and given no reasonable grounds as to why this was the case. That team then responded by adding two recent university graduates who had no experience or LPC qualifications however; the new additions all had something in common. They were white middle class males. It had actually happened a number of occasions and, in fact, an individual whom I had worked with previously had admitted to me in private that even he (despite being the beneficiary of such hiring practices - he had been given a job on said team) felt as though the hiring practice was racist and not based on capability.

It was at this same firm (a top 20 UK law firm) in which a friend of mine walked out on the grounds that his line manager had subjected him to abuse with racial overtones specifically in relation to his nationality (he was from the asian subcontinent). This complaint was upheld and he received an official apology and compensation from the firm in question. I can list numerous instances and other stories i.e. lawyers making fun of Asian sounding names or making remarks about ‘blacks’ being ‘more likely to commit crime’ however; I don’t feel as though that help get us anywhere.

When I was looking to move on from the aforementioned firm, I would often have conversations with friends (from a white middle class background) who would proceed to tell me things like ‘You should change your name’ or ‘Don’t talk with that type of accent’. These suggestions would not just go unchallenged but were often encouraged by colleagues and all those around me. I mean, on a basic level, how can the industry profess to represent equality people are judged on their name (which goes hand in hand with the colour of their skin) and the way they talk (which often couples with their socioeconomic background) ?

Just to clarify; am I saying the legal sector is irredeemably racist ? No. The stats on the SRA roll prove that nearly a quarter of lawyers in 2017 were coming from a BAME background which is quite significant. I would however abridge this with an important distinction - corporate firms and high street firms. Smaller firms tend to have a high proportion of BAME partners (i.e. they are run by non white lawyers) whereas large corporate firms have a very low ratio when it comes to BAME partners. I do not feel as though this is a coincidence in that many people from non white backgrounds enter the environment I am currently in and (owing to experiences similar to those that I have mentioned) often decide that it is best to simply ‘set up shop’ on their own.

I didn't write this article to argue with others as I have achieved what I set out to do and become a lawyer. Although, I did want to provide you with an inside picture of the corporate legal industry. I have had many friends from working class backgrounds who simply gave up on qualifying because of all the obstacles in the way. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with them though i.e. it has been a gruelling journey but anyone who thinks being a lawyer is going to be easy will be sadly mistaken. If you want something then expect to fight for it however; what has disappointed me most about this whole journey is the unshakable feeling that racist attitudes have a strong hold. It is a paradigm in which white middle class males have the power and if you are, like I was, a non white person from an inner city area; keep in mind that you are going to have more hurdles in your way than your white counterparts.

Peace out, kids.
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J Papi
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Lots of dodgy claims and phrasing in the OP, but okay.
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Reality Check
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Nice anecdotes. Thanks.
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MidgetFever
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I suppose being a working-class woman, I'm going to be outdriven by middle class males too. :rolleyes:
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Bang Outta Order
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(Original post by MidgetFever)
I suppose being a working-class woman, I'm going to be outdriven by middle class males too. :rolleyes:
just be happy you're a white woman. As there's obviously a racial hierarchy within the female species due to how they treat each other, and male preference.
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MidgetFever
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(Original post by Bang Outta Order)
just be happy you're a white woman. As there's obviously a racial hierarchy within the female species due to how they treat each other, and male preference.
How they treat eachother? What? :lol:
I like to think I treat everyone equally and with respect, regardless of their race.

I'm hoping this was sarcasm.
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Bang Outta Order
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(Original post by MidgetFever)
How they treat eachother? What? :lol:
I like to think I treat everyone equally and with respect, regardless of their race.

I'm hoping this was sarcasm.
I had to put my drink down.

No I hope your post was sarcasm, love. I'm not talking about you and how you like to see yourself, I'm talking about racism. While this is a socially acceptable post you made...Are you actually denying that white women are mainstream and that they don't have it better than other women...?? "what? :lol:" that's incredibly offensive to more than half the planet.
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MidgetFever
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(Original post by Bang Outta Order)
I had to put my drink down.

No I hope your post was sarcasm, love. I'm not talking about you and how you like to see yourself, I'm talking about racism. While this is a socially acceptable post you made...Are you actually denying that white women are mainstream and that they don't have it better than other women...?? "what? :lol:" that's incredibly offensive to more than half the planet.
I'm not going to get into a race debate lmao, wasn't really my intention in the first place.
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Bang Outta Order
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👆 The fact you denied racism shows just how well you have it. So a white woman strolls into a job then a black or south Asian or Muslim. In all honesty unless they are rich and famous, and sometimes not even then, will a coloured woman be at an automatic disadvantage...or unless the white woman is Vicky Pollard...
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Bang Outta Order
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(Original post by MidgetFever)
I suppose being a working-class woman, I'm going to be outdriven by middle class males too. :rolleyes:
feminists are fighting for equal footing. If they were to gain that, do you honestly think a black woman would typically be in higher position than white.....like honestly. Dont try to go for reps, go for truth. Be honest. Do you think other white women and white men would let that happen...?
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MidgetFever
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(Original post by Bang Outta Order)
👆 The fact you denied racism shows just how well you have it. So a white woman strolls into a job then a black or south Asian or Muslim. In all honesty unless they are rich and famous, and sometimes not even then, will a coloured woman be at an automatic disadvantage...or unless the white woman is Vicky Pollard...
I didn't 'deny' racism, you're insinuating that.
As I said, my intention wasn't to get into a debate about race. Clearly, as my initial post had absolutely naff all to do about race in the first place.

So I'd appreciate if you stopped trying to drag out some debate that clearly isn't there.
Last edited by MidgetFever; 1 month ago
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MoonlightRain
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God, I hope not. I hope someone gives you a detailed answer though.
Some places may discriminate on the basis of your skin colour and some won’t.
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999tigger
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(Original post by MoonlightRain)
God, I hope not. I hope someone gives you a detailed answer though.
Some places may discriminate on the basis of your skin colour and some won’t.
Your last line sums it up.
Lot better than it was.
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Brutal Bee
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Your last line sums it up.
Lot better than it was.
Just curious, are you a lawyer or do you/did you study law? You know a lot about law
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999tigger
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(Original post by Law-yer)
Just curious, are you a lawyer or do you/did you study law? You know a lot about law
Just a tigger. In any event moonlightrains summary is perfect, pointless having a chip on your shoulder and best to id and focus on being the best you can be and id employers who will recognise that. The profession is very conservative with a high proportion of middle class and an even higher proportion of middle class white males, when it comes to senior partnerships in commercial firms.

Some firms take equality really seriously.
Last edited by 999tigger; 1 month ago
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Brutal Bee
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Just a tigger.
A humorous tigger. 😍
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ringspun
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#Everyone'sRacistOp
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Bang Outta Order
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(Original post by MidgetFever)
I didn't 'deny' racism, you're insinuating that.
As I said, my intention wasn't to get into a debate about race. Clearly, as my initial post had absolutely naff all to do about race in the first place.

So I'd appreciate if you stopped trying to drag out some debate that clearly isn't there.
Lmao there's so much I could say but I don't wanna hurt your feelings so I'll just say you're the pot calling the kettle black...


You mentioned discrimination against women

In a thread about RACE so I said what I said to you...

Now you're getting all wound up about it lol
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Bang Outta Order
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(Original post by MidgetFever)
I'm not going to get into a race debate lmao, wasn't really my intention in the first place.
look around, you're in a thread about race so I had to remind you.


You can leave. But I'm on topic. You're not. 👋
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Bang Outta Order
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(Original post by Bang Outta Order)
feminists are fighting for equal footing. If they were to gain that, do you honestly think a black woman would typically be in higher position than white.....like honestly. Dont try to go for reps, go for truth. Be honest. Do you think other white women and white men would let that happen...?
Anyone else wanna answer. Since the person it was directed at is pulling a legger.
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