The Fairness Project: the role of legal educators as catalysts for change. Engaging in difficult dialogues on the impact of diversity barriers to entry and progression in the legal profession

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



External departments

  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Sheffield


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalLaw Teacher
Early online date13 Aug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Aug 2020
Publication type

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article provides a critique of The Fairness Project, a learning and teaching project on equality and diversity in the legal profession and its impact on employability, delivered over three years across three university law schools. The Fairness Project builds on current literature on lack of equality and diversity in the legal profession, by adopting a student perspective. Barriers to entry and progression within the legal profession occur because of a range of issues including social class, gender, ethnicity, initial education, university education and gaining work experience in a law firm. We explore whether, and to what extent, we can educate law students from a range of diverse backgrounds and social identities about the ‘diversity barriers’ entrenched in the legal profession, and thus influence their own career trajectories to access the profession. Our results show that – at least to some extent – we can. The data suggests that The Fairness Project helped prepare law students to tackle the inequalities that exist in the legal profession. The learning benefits of The Fairness Project are transferable to other law schools and could be adapted for use with law students in other jurisdictions, or for students in other disciplines where ‘diversity barriers’ may exist.