An institution’s values and commitment to inclusion are only real when tested. It is in challenging times that we decide whether we embrace those values and these are the defining moments that ultimately prove their worth. Amid a global pandemic, political upheavals, the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent movement that has flowed from his death, the profession’s actions will show if our values are either luxury items to be paraded when convenient or the rock on which we build our business.
It is precisely now beset by challenges that we need to put inclusion at the heart of our decisions. Leading law firms have often waxed lyrical about commitments to diversity; now is the moment to step up if we truly believe inclusion is a core value and an economic imperative. Continue reading “Guest comment: Corporate values mean nothing without cost – City law’s moment has come to champion diversity”
Allen & Overy is confronting the must-solve issue of achieving ethnic diversity in City law with a raft of new targets aimed at levelling the playing field by 2025.
The set of targets includes having 15% of partners and 25% of lawyers and support staff identifying as ethnic minority in the next five years. Continue reading “A&O aims to tackle ‘uncomfortable truth’ with 2025 ethnic diversity targets”
Is the next front on diversity in the profession targets for ethnic minority representation? The industry looks to be slowly moving that way with the news that Clifford Chance (CC) is committing to a host of new targets aimed at boosting diversity.
Though the package unveiled today (14 July) is focused on representation on many fronts, it will be CC’s new commitments on ethnic diversity that will attract the most attention. The firm is aiming to have 15% of its UK and US partner promotions and lateral hires from minority ethnic backgrounds by 2025, averaged over the previous five-year period. There is an additional target of 30% representation for senior associates and senior business professionals in the same region by 2025 as a whole, not just hires and promotions. Continue reading “CC breaks ground with 15% ethnic minority target for partners but can the profession follow through?”
If there is one topic on which the legal profession manages to be both verbose and yet perennially avoid substantive debate it is race. That is unsurprising given the woeful progress that large commercial law firms have made in recruiting black lawyers and staff in any numbers over the last 20 years.
There is progress of a kind in that such topics would once have been ignored, while now law firms feel compelled to load their comms with diversity initiatives and host events around black history month. Yet tackling head-on why many major UK law firms have fewer than 1% of their staff from the black community goes strangely unremarked. Continue reading “Comment: We need to talk about George – It’s time the profession found its voice on race”
Transatlantic firm Eversheds Sutherland has today (19 September) announced new targets to improve BAME representation across its UK partnership, with the firm’s current figures among the worst in the UK’s top 12.
By 2025 the firm wants 10% of its UK partnership to be comprised of BAME lawyers, with the figure currently standing at just over 5%. Throughout its UK workforce, including partners, the firm wants to hit 14% BAME representation by 2022, with the figure currently sitting at just below 12%. Continue reading “Realistic: Eversheds sets new targets to combat paltry BAME partner numbers”
‘People are so scared to talk about race in the UK,’ Linklaters senior partner Charlie Jacobs says. ‘They think it’s a landmine they’re going to walk straight into, so they’d rather avoid it entirely.’
A landmine – easy to lay but hard to get rid of – which has seen Big Law for years avoid a substantive discussion around ethnic diversity. Gender is already an uncomfortable topic for the industry, yet not so uncomfortable that it has obscured increasingly intense scrutiny of the profession’s poor record promoting female partners. In contrast, ethnic diversity at the upper reaches of commercial law is rarely addressed head-on, being submerged in the wider ‘D&I’ discussion. Continue reading “Ticking boxes – Is City law going beyond the platitudes on ethnic diversity?”