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Diversity

7.0 / 10

(based on 9 ratings in 2019)

2019

"Overall I think the firm does well for diversity. During our annual discussion of the firm's performance, the board noted that there was still an issue with the gender pay gap and that they were working towards resolving this. That was really encouraging for me as it's definitely something that should be resolved. I would like to see more diverse representation on the board (both women and ethnic minorities) as I think that the correct balance hasn't been achieved yet."
First year trainee, Exeter
"Due to the fact that we are located in the South West, the level of diversity is low. However, that being said, there are a number of new initiatives that have been rolled out across the firm to change this. There are currently more females than males employed at Ashfords and Ashfords is continuing to improve its gender pay gap. The firm is very permissive in terms of childcare, allowing individuals to work flexible hours, and the level of maternity leave is generous."
First year trainee, Exeter
"Ashfords is very active in this area and I have no complaints with respect to the diversity policy. Everyone at the firm is treated with respect, irrespective of any protected characteristics."
First year trainee, Plymouth, I occasionally work in the Exeter Office
"The firm is looking to improve diversity and we have been told that new initiatives are being launched in the near future. The firm is committed to offering different routes to law via CILEX or our apprenticeships."
Second year trainee,
"I think this is something that the firm is conscious of and is trying to find ways to improve, especially in terms of ethnic minorities and LGBTQ+. While there is not a negative culture to any of these things at the firm, there is limited representation for ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ+ community. To be fair, I think this is reflective of the geographical location of the offices rather than the culture of the firm."
Second year trainee, Exeter
"There are many women in senior roles and there is a good gender balance throughout the firm. There is a larger proportion of men in senior positions, as well as limited representation from different ethnic minority groups. However, I think this is unfortunately reflective of the legal market as a whole."
Second year trainee, Bristol

2018

"The firm has excellent maternity/paternity/parental leave arrangements and the focus on equality and diversity is at the forefront of the firm's values."
Second year trainee, Bristol
"I am aware that the firm is addressing diversity in the firm. Maternity leave, flexible working and childcare (as far as I am aware) are well provided at the firm to accommodate women who are wanting to continue their careers and also have children. While there is a push for diversification across the offices, this can be limited by the location of the offices being largely in the south west where there is less diversification generally. I have never experienced anything in relation to LGBT at the firm in a positive sense, though I am not aware of any negative cultures in this regard either."
First year trainee, Exeter
"The firm is accepting and accommodating. It might not appear as diverse as firms in other parts of the country but I think this is a reflection of the general lack of diversity in the population of the area."
First year trainee, Exeter
"I am surrounded by lots of great successful female role models and the firm offers lots of flexible working options for fee earners with families."
First year trainee, Bristol
"We have an equalities partner focusing on increasing inclusion. We are at the market average for a gender pay gap in the legal sector, although the firm has stated that it is trying to improve this."
First year trainee, Exeter
"I think this is lacking. We need an LGBT group and perhaps a focus on how to make the intake more diverse, possibly by offering talks in schools about the law profession to open up the path for people from different ethnicities to apply. I would say the office is not particularly diverse on the whole but it's hard to say for sure."
First year trainee, Bristol

2017

"More women have been recruited into the training contract scheme than men over the last four years. This seems representative of the gender split studying law at universities in the UK. There are more men in the partnership than women but the firm has a good history of offering flexible working and there are at least three women on the firm's governing board."
Newly qualified solicitor, Bristol
"I understand that the firm has policies in place for diversity. Partners and board members seem to be male dominated but this may reflect that generation. If you look lower down to recently qualified people and trainees, a large proportion of them are female."
First year trainee, Exeter/Tiverton
"The firm is not the most diverse at the higher levels but the junior levels of the firm are relatively diverse when it comes to female solicitors. I know that many fee earners, both male and female, work flexible hours due to having children."
Second year trainee, Exeter
"It's great to see that maternity, paternity and flexible working patterns have been adopted."
Second year trainee, Exeter
"The firm seems to have the opposite culture of most in that the majority of hires are female."
First year trainee, Bristol
"There are lots of women at the junior level but this is less representative at more senior levels."
Second year trainee, Bristol
"As a regional firm, there is limited opportunity to employ a diverse ethnic spread."
First year trainee, Taunton

2016

"Ashfords is not the most diverse firm. This is probably not due to the way that the firm recruits or its attitude to current staff members. It is difficult to pinpoint why there is a lack of diversity. At a junior level there are a significant number of female solicitors. This is not yet reflected at partner level but hopefully will be as we progress through the career process."
First year trainee, Bristol
"There are lots of women working their way into senior roles, and many fee earners with children work flexibly following maternity leave."
First year trainee, Exeter
"Good retention and promotion among women and ethnic minorities below partnership. Partnership and board and dominated by white men, but that may be reflective of those qualifying 15–20 years ago."
Second year trainee, Exeter
"The office is very female-heavy, although a large majority of the partners are male. I know of several staff members, both male and female, who work flexible hours due to childcare commitments."
First year trainee, Exeter

2015

"Promotion among female members of staff is equal to that of male employees. There are a large number of female partners. There are not many ethnic minorities working for the firm at present, but I think that this is probably due to geographic reasons, with most offices located in South West England. The firm is very encouraging to staff with regards maternity and childcare."
First year trainee, Exeter
"Ashfords has a strong diversity policy in place which can be seen through its recruitment, with a good mix of men and women. Ashfords is very supportive of childcare and maternity leave, offering enhanced maternity pay."
Second year trainee, Exeter

2014

"The staff at Ashfords is quite diverse with an increasing number of women becoming parters and senior members of staff. Diversity figures are regularly shown in the firm prospectus with a fair split across diversities both in terms of retention and promotion. There are more women in my year group of trainees than men but previous years have generally been roughly even."
First year trainee, Exeter
"My department contains many women, all of which balance childcare and work. Ashfords are very flexible with maternity and child care arrangements as far as I am aware."
Second year trainee, Exeter
"I can only comment on diversity in terms of age; in my intake the firm took on a number of career changers."
Second year trainee, Taunton
Our 'Inside Buzz' reviews are the comments and views of recent graduate recruits, giving you a view of what it may be like to work for an organisation. Copyright of all TARGETjobs Inside Buzz material lies solely with GTI Media.
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