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Who can be a lawyer?

Who can be a lawyer? In this article from The University of Law we look at diversity in the legal sector.
© The University of Law, Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board

Lawyers come from every walk of life, and from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. In fact, legal professionals are among the most dynamic, varied and interesting people you could hope to spend a working day with.

Ethnic Diversity

According to a data collection by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in summer 2019, 1 in 5 solicitors are from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. The BAME population of England and Wales as a whole is around 13%, so it is well represented in the solicitors’ profession. More than 13% of barristers come from ethnic minority backgrounds, according to a similar data collection carried out the Bar Standards Board (BSB) in December 2019.

Gender Diversity

The gender gap has also narrowed in recent years. 49% of solicitors and 38% of barristers are women.

Cultural Diversity

The most recent statistics show that the socio-economic profile of lawyers is also changing. Only 21% of practising solicitors attended British independent or fee-paying schools. More than 49% were the first in their families to go to university. For barristers the numbers are similar: 17% of barristers attended British independent or fee-paying schools and 47% were the first in their families to go to university.


The proportion of solicitors and barristers with disability is lower, at 3%, than the wider population, where disabled people make up 13% of the workforce in the UK.

© The University of Law, Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board
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