About the Matheson Diversity in Law Newman Fellowship
The Irish legal profession is often signalled for not being diverse enough. While research on gender diversity in the Irish legal profession has increased in the last fifteen years, there is virtually no research on why certain groups, like ethnic minorities and citizens from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, are still not sufficiently represented in the Irish legal profession.
This ambitious project will contribute to the debate on why ethnic minorities and citizens from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds are still not sufficiently represented in the Irish legal profession. In particular, this project will explore why ethnic minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged school pupils, college students and law graduates are less likely to become practising lawyers (i.e. solicitors or barristers).
This major interdisciplinary project lasting two years will provide the successful candidate with a unique opportunity to importantly contribute to current and new initiatives to improve access to law degrees and to the legal profession for ethnic minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged citizens. For instance, this research could inform actions to implement the National Access Plan 2022-2028.
The Newman Fellow will be based in UCD Sutherland School of Law and will work collaboratively with a close network of researchers from UCD, like the ‘Law in the classroom’ project lead, the Human Rights Research Centre, the Equalities Studies Centre and the School of Education.
The fellowship builds on Matheson’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives, which are delivered through its Impactful Business Programme – a single dedicated programme combining its D&I, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Sustainability and Arts activities, as well as the firm’s pro bono work and employee wellbeing supports. In 2022, Matheson became the first organisation in Ireland to achieve re-accreditation of the Gold Standard Award from the Irish Centre for Diversity in recognition of the firm’s development and implementation of a series of people-focused D&I initiatives.
Commenting on the new fellowship, Michael Jackson, Managing Partner, Matheson, said:
“We are proud to launch the Matheson Diversity in Law Newman Fellowship, which builds on our ongoing D&I initiatives. Diversity is embedded in Matheson’s culture and we are dedicated to maintaining a truly diverse workplace that values and celebrates differences. Our D&I commitment includes active and creative partnerships within our community, including law school programmes. We recognise the need for greater representation within the legal profession and that starts with access to higher education.
Partnering with the UCD Sutherland School of Law to deliver this fellowship enables us to work together to harness insights and provide much-needed evidence to identify upstream obstacles that are resulting in downstream effects experienced by under-represented groups in gaining access to, and remaining in, a career in law.”
Professor Laurent Pech, Dean of Law and Head of the Sutherland School of Law said:
“We are delighted to announce the Matheson Diversity in Law Newman Fellowship which will be based in UCD Sutherland School of Law and supervised by Dr Sara Benedí Lahuerta. It is important in 2023 that we work towards making the legal profession in Ireland more inclusive. This research will give an insight into why ethnic minorities are still not sufficiently represented in the Irish legal profession and what barriers they are facing to becoming practising lawyers, thus informing new initiatives for a more diverse legal workforce. It is a welcome project in an ever-changing socio-economic Irish landscape. Matheson are the first law firm to support a Newman Fellowship at UCD and we are incredibly grateful for their generous contribution.”
The UCD Newman Fellowship Programme, established in 1989, provides financial support for a period of two years, allowing the fellow the freedom to pursue their particular area of research. Projects range across all academic areas and almost 230 fellowships have been awarded since the programme’s inception. Charitable donations to the UCD Newman Fellowship Programme are managed by UCD Foundation.
How to Apply:
The successful candidate will work under the supervision and mentorship of Professor Sara Benedí Lahuerta. Interested candidates who hold a doctoral degree in Law, Sociology or Education, and those with a strong interest in investigating avenues to improve access to the legal profession for under-represented groups are invited to apply.
Please visit Matheson Diversity in Law Newman Fellowship – UCD Foundation for information on how to apply. Informal enquiries regarding the Matheson Diversity in Law Newman Fellowship may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 17:00 on 16 June 2023