Just six of 800 partners at Magic Circle law firms in UK are black.

Just six out of 800 partners at the most prestigious law firms in the UK are black.

In case you missed it, The Telegraph published an article on 10 June 2020 which revealed that just six of 800 partners at Magic Circle law firms in the UK are black.

What are Magic Circle law firms?

Magic Circle law firms is a phrase coined by journalists to refer to a collection of five UK-based law firms considered to be amongst the most prestigious in the world. 

These five firms are far from being the largest in the UK or the world, but they are best at a certain type of legal work, namely banking, finance and corporate – advising the world’s largest and best-known corporations on huge transformative business transactions.

The five consist of:

Despite efforts to improve diversity, two of the five firms – Allen & Overy and Slaughter and May – have no black partners in the UK.

Why is this important?

These law firms advise the largest and most influential organisations and institutions in the UK, making billions in revenue. So, arguably, they are a bunch of clever people.

So is this a result of:

1) Black British lawyers not being clever enough to make it to partner level in these firms.

2) Unconscious bias (or even systematic discrimination) in hiring and promotion practices.

3) Structural inequalities in access to work, progression and rewards, including access to alumni and professional networks.