Diversity and inclusion are integral to our firm wide strategy. Our culture is open, collaborative and inclusive, enabling us to recruit, retain and motivate the highest calibre of people. It is important to us that all of our people feel that they can be themselves at work.
Our Diversity and Inclusion Group supports the delivery of the firm’s diversity and inclusion strategy and meets on a regular basis to ensure our priorities are being met. We have diversity and inclusion ambassadors and a number of internal diversity networks.
We advocate for equality and fairness and participate in various networks and charters. These include The Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Charter, the Bristol Equality Charter, the Woman in Business Charter and the Race at Work charter. We are committed to being an accessible and inclusive organisation and working with other businesses and organisations to share good equality practice and improve. We are proud to be a Disability Confident Committed employer and are committed to supporting our disabled employees and ensuring our recruitment opportunities are accessible to all.
We are an accredited Living Wage Employer as we believe all of our people deserve fair pay.
1. Improving gender diversity in senior roles
We are particularly focused on the development and progression of our female lawyers and business professionals. Our career focussed training equips our future talent with the necessary skills and knowledge to enable them to make informed decisions about their own progression.
We have worked with the Law Society on their Women in Leadership in Law study and we have collaborated with Thomson Reuters as part of their Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law programme, exploring factors that may be contributing to the loss of female talent and the steps needed to address this.
2. Improving ethnic diversity across the firm
We are committed to increasing ethnic diversity across the firm, recognising the importance of cultural awareness and reaching out to different sections of the community. Race is a visual and obvious difference, as a protected characteristic, where possible we utilise blind recruitment practices and have invested in unconscious bias training.
We support the Stepping Up Programme, a diversity leadership programme for future leaders in Bristol, developing a talent pipeline that more meaningfully reflects our population and community.
3. Supporting and developing our LGBT community
We have worked closely with Stonewall since 2012 and we are proud to be ranked 101st in the Stonewall Employer Index. We take part in the annual Stonewall Index which helps us to benchmark our progress on LGBT+ inclusion across the firm.
We play an active role in the Pride Festival each year, marching in the parade and taking part in the festival itself. We are proud winners of Best Law Firm 2017 and 2018 at the Bristol Pride Awards.
4. Improving inclusivity for those with disability
We have partnered with the West of England Centre for Inclusive Living (WECIL) to help us better understand disability in the workplace and accessibility so that we take the appropriate actions.
As a Disability Confident employer we are keen to play an active role in building understanding around disability and accommodating people’s different needs to draw upon the widest talent pool.
5. Social mobility and widening access to the profession
We are committed to improving social inclusion and access to the legal profession. We are founder members of the Social Mobility Pledge and the Social Mobility Business Partnership and signatories of PRIME. We raise aspirations of young people in the local community through our Working with Schools programme.
We have partnered with Rare Recruitment, using their Contextual Recruitment System which allows us to consider applicants’ achievements in the context in which those achievements were gained, taking into consideration several socioeconomic factors including postcode, school quality, and eligibility for free school meals.
Our legal apprenticeship programme was successfully launched in 2016 as part of the Trailblazers initiative and we were the first law firm in Bristol to recruit using these standards. In 2018 we launched our business professionals apprenticeship programme. We hold open evenings for students and their parents to inform them about our apprenticeships and we visit a number of state schools in the region.
We support our people with a number of internal diversity networks:
BProud is our well established LGBT+ network. BProud welcomes both LGBT+ members and allies. The network promotes a culture where everyone is able to be open about their sexual orientation. BProud members run and attend many LGBT+ events through the year. The network assists the firm with its annual Stonewall workplace equality index submission.
BCultured is our BAME network, established in 2018. BCultured aims to promote ethnic diversity and inclusion across all aspects of the firm. Through reverse mentoring, BCultured has helped us to build awareness and better understanding of different cultural perspectives and experiences.
Family Matters is a network that has been established for those with caring responsibilities in the firm. Family Matters aims to provide a space for people to discuss and share experiences openly and hold regular information events.
BEnabled is open to anyone who identifies as disabled, cares for someone with a disability or has a general interest in this area and wants to support the Firm in being an accessible and inclusive place to work. The aim of the forum is to ensure that our working environment is supportive, accessible and suitable for all of our people.
BBalanced is our gender network to help support better gender balance, to identify actions and working practices that better support and enable women in the workplace and to help direct certain benefits, traditionally geared towards a specific gender, more fairly to all.