UCL News


Employment, Equal Opportunities and Diversity: More Equal Than Others

8 June 2006

Despite much talk, the social and ethnic make-up of the UK's leading law firms has changed little in recent years.

But is the root of the problem the quality of the candidates that want to enter the profession? …

Failure to encourage A-level students from diverse social and racial backgrounds to continue their education and possibly opt for a career in the law will mean the profession continuing to recruit in its current image. …

Last year, fresh attention was thrown on new entrants to the law, with a study measuring the comparative academic abilities of students from a wide variety of backgrounds finding little disparity between the subjects. 
The National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT) was conceived in 2003 by a group of eight leading universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and UCL, to provide an additional means of differentiating between candidates for their highly competitive law degree courses who had scored top grades at A-Level. …

The test was explicitly aimed to make access to the profession fairer for all candidates, regardless of their educational background. …

Professor Rodney Austin, faculty tutor for undergraduates at UCL Laws, comments: "LNAT is one way of helping people who have suffered education disadvantage to prove their worth. There is not a vast number of brilliant candidates that the education system has failed to pick up - it is a small number. [But] LNAT enables us to pick out candidates who would not normally meet our very high requirements." 

Charlie Wright, 'Legal Week'