Open University Law Society tackles age discrimination

Fears that the legal profession is riddled with age discrimination have prompted a group of Open University (OU) law students to call for more evidence on current practice trends

Richard Hand, president of the OU Law Society, said that older law students are increasingly concerned about finding a job after graduation. “Our law society has 185 members. At least half of us want to become solicitors, but the majority of us are over the age of 30,” said Hand. “We’ve heard that a lot of law firms allegedly don’t take trainees over 30. This ties in with the fact that there is currently no law against age discrimination.”

Hand wants to gather evidence of ageism in law firms and plans to use it to lobby the Government. “There is no information out there for us and we feel like we are in a bit of a vacuum,” he said.

The Trainee Solicitors Group estimates that the average trainee is currently aged between 23-25 years.

A Law Society spokesman said: “The society has received some complaints and often age discrimination is listed among a number of reasons why someone thinks they’ve been overlooked. In contrast, many people over 30 have entered the profession and are enjoying extremely successful careers. Many law firms clearly value the wider experience that these students have gained.”