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Minority and social diversity in legal education

Maharg, Paul and Anderson, S. and Murray, L. (2003) Minority and social diversity in legal education. [Report]

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Abstract

In Scotland, as elsewhere in the UK, there has been longstanding concern about the ethnic and social class composition of entrants to the legal profession and of the profession as a whole. There has also been a more general focus on issues of inclusion in relation to access to education. This report presents the findings of research examining the factors that attract or deter students from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds to, or from, a career in law in Scotland. It was carried out on behalf of the Scottish Executive by NFO System Three Social Research in collaboration with Dr Paul Maharg, University of Strathclyde. The research was mainly structured around a qualitative and quantitative examination of the views of those at key stages in the process of legal education - from school pupils about to enter higher education to trainee solicitors at the end of their traineeships. A small number of qualitative interviews were conducted with Admissions Officers in the five Scottish law departments offering LLB degrees in 2001-2002. In addition, a brief review of relevant literature and analysis of UCAS data on the demographic composition of applicants for law courses at Scottish universities was undertaken.