Lawyers for Wealth Equality (LFWE) is an association that exists to explore and overcome the ways in which law, and legal systems, reproduce wealth inequality. Through this exploration, we hope to find ways of achieving greater Wealth Equality across society.
For the time being, our association is formed of people employed, or who aspire to be employed, as legal assistants, legal executives and paralegals in the UK. Membership is also open to trainee solicitors and pupil barristers. We are formally affiliated with Wealth Equality.
As lawyers we understand that the law is used to regulate a socio-economic system of wealth inequality. The concepts of “rule of law”, “access to justice” and “due process” often mask the practical, real-world effects that the law has on people.
LFWE seeks to explore the links between wealth, access to justice, and legal outcomes. We aim to change the dominant understanding of economics, which routinely overlooks the influence of the law. As a group, we try to overcome the legal myths that divide people and prevent us from being truly equal.
LFWE aims to reverse the trend, especially but not limited to addressing cuts to legal aid and to re-open access to the professions for those who are from lower socio-economic backgrounds. At present, we are exploring two different projects in this regard.
Firstly, we seek to overturn anti-trade union laws, which prevent workers from enforcing fair pay and working conditions. Secondly, we aim to establish a trade union for paralegals.
Towards better Trade Union legislation
The current framework of collective labour laws has led the UK to be in breach the standards set by the International Labour Organisation and the Council of Europe’s Social Charter of 1961. Trade union laws in the UK were formed like a patchwork quilt of mismatched historical intentions rather than rational design.
LFWE believes trade unions are a powerful tool for achieving Wealth Equality and social harmony. Their establishment in every industry should be encouraged, and the onerous conditions and sanctions placed upon them should be repealed. We would like to see Trade Unions granted straightforward legal status, with collective agreements being directly enforceable both in the courts and by recourse to industrial action.
We seek the restoration of trade union autonomy. Through our efforts we hope to increase public awareness of the unfairness of current regulations. In particular, we seek support from lawyers to bring about the extensive unionisation of the legal profession.
Towards a trade union that represents lawyers
LFWE aims to give its members the opportunity to speak together in order to have our voices heard. We aim to increase job security, protect remuneration, improve training, and foster constructive dialogue with our employers and the government.
It is the norm for paralegals and legal executives to be paid a mere fraction of the salary of qualified lawyers. They also face significantly reduced job security, and often fear that victimisation will follow any attempt to report their dissatisfaction through their firm’s HR channels. Precariousness has become the watchword of an entire generation: we aim to change that picture from bleak to beautiful.
We plan to end the era of the unpaid legal internship, replacing them with a living wage enforced by an extensively unionised legal workforce. We seek the widespread implementation of socially just waging policies that reflect need as well as ability.
LFWE is a young movement, but we have an endless source of good will and imagination. Join us in making the legal sector more equal, as a first step towards imagining a society in which everyone has enough wealth to lead a dignified existence.
Everyone is welcome to participate in our events and discussions. We do not subscribe to a particular political party or ideology, and welcome all perspectives, critical or otherwise.