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Going Public: Diversity Disclosures by Large Law Firms

Vaughan, S; (2015) Going Public: Diversity Disclosures by Large Law Firms. Fordham Law Review , 83 (5) pp. 2301-2324. Green open access

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Abstract

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has been the parent regulator of legal services in England and Wales since 2009. Born of the wide-ranging reforms introduced by the Legal Services Act 2007 (LSA), the LSB is tasked with promoting the regulatory objectives contained within the LSA, including “encouraging an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession.”1 In July 2011, the LSB introduced a rule requiring the collection of data on workforce diversity and the publication of that data by the legal profession. This was the first—and indeed, is the only—direct regulatory intervention taken with regard to diversity in the legal profession.2 The LSB’s reporting rule forms the heart of this Article. Three arguments are put forward in this Article. The first is that the LSB’s rule was not necessary, as the majority of large law firms in the United Kingdom were already disclosing, without regulatory intervention into the market, some diversity data. The second is that, even if there were good grounds for the LSB’s rule, it was likely to face significant challenges. This is for three reasons: (1) scholarship on diversity in legal practice paints the issue as complex, multifaceted, and nuanced (something not easily amenable to change via a reporting rule); (2) there is little evidence from the fields of corporate social responsibility and corporate governance to suggest that reporting rules have significant impact on the behaviors of regulatees; and (3) the work on demand-side diversity pressures in the legal profession suggests that clients will not hold firms accountable.

Type: Article
Title: Going Public: Diversity Disclosures by Large Law Firms
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://fordhamlawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/ass...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055609
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