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The pursuit of excellence, or how solicitors maintain racial inequality∗

King, M. and Israel, M.ORCID: 0000-0002-1263-8699 (1989) The pursuit of excellence, or how solicitors maintain racial inequality∗. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 16 (1). pp. 107-120.

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Lawyers play an important role in determining the nature of our society. Yet the legal profession remains entirely responsible for its own recruitment. Research, carried out between 1986–9 shows that commercial solicitors’ firms accept as articled clerks only very few members of ‘black’ ethnic minority groups, and hardly any Africans or Afro‐Caribbeans. Arguments that ethnic minority candidates do not apply to or are not of a sufficiently high standard are examined and rejected as adequate explanations. Rather, discriminatory policies applied by these firms are seen as having a strong influence on the small numbers of black candidates who apply and who are accepted for articles. The methods by which such selection policies are applied and attempts to justify them are analysed. It is concluded that traditional attitudes, administrative convenience, as well as a wish to retain total control over the type of people, who are accepted as members of the firm, account for much of the discrimination that exists. Finally, the article draws attention to the failure of these firms to accept notions of social responsibility or the need for promoting social justice as playing any part in their recruitment policies.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Carfax Publishing Ltd.
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