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‘Logical next step’: Pinsent Masons buys specialist diversity and inclusion business Brook Graham

Pinsent Masons has acquired specialist diversity and inclusion (D&I) business Brook Graham for an undisclosed sum, fresh from buying a 20% stake in New Law outsourcing business Yuzu.

Both Pinsent Masons and Brook Graham will continue to operate as separate businesses. The firm’s managing partner John Cleland and senior partner Richard Foley, however, will join the company’s board, alongside Pinsent Masons employment head Linda Jones.

Jones will also be appointed to the company’s executive strategy group with Brook Graham co-founders Lesley Brook and Jacey Graham.

Speaking to Legal Business, Jones said the acquisition for Pinsents was about offering an additional service to both existing and potentially new clients and sectors.

‘I have been having a lot of conversations with clients about that and this seemed like a logical next step in enabling us to help our clients with a broader range of services and a more holistic approach.’

‘We have got employment law and that touches on the compliance side of diversity and inclusion, but with Brook Graham it is all about the culture and the culture change,’ Jones said.

Current clients of Brook Graham include big-ticket names such as Shell, Nokia, HSBC, BAE Systems and Aviva.

Jones told Legal Business: ‘There are obvious areas of overlap where clients can benefit. If clients want to make sure they are legally compliant with discrimination law then obviously Brook Graham can introduce them to us.’

‘On the flip side of that, if we have clients who have had a really bad employment tribunal or a grievance which has uncovered practices of discrimination or bullying – then we can say “well we can introduce you to Brook Graham and they can help to bring about the culture change that is necessary to tackle those sorts of issues.”’

For Brook Graham, the acquisition gives the business the opportunity to expand into new sectors and geographies with the support of Pinsents’ international reach.

In a statement, Brook said: ‘The firm provides a stronger operational platform from which to grow the business and be able to provide current and future clients with holistic D&I services and solutions which make a sustainable difference.’

This March, Pinsents announced that it had acquired a minority stake in New Law outsourcing business Yuzu, which was founded in January by former Colt group general counsel Robin Saphra.

Meanwhile, Pinsents has been a prominent investor in other New Law models, founding flexible resourcing business Vario – which last week announced plans to open in Australia – and holding a majority stake in online compliance solutions business Cerico.