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Diversity and Inclusion

Charles Russell Speechlys is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to ensuring that our culture, our training and our policies all facilitate and enhance the development and promotion of equal opportunities.

These policies and practices apply to external recruitment, internal appointments, terms of employment and conditions of service and opportunities for training and promotion. Our aim? To foster an inclusive, welcoming environment for all and to recognise and celebrate differences.

The firm aims to ensure that nobody suffers discrimination because of gender, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, gender reassignment nationality, colour, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, age, disability or fixed term or part time status.

The firm is also committed to a programme of action designed to make this policy effective. This includes an ongoing review of our selection criteria and procedures to ensure that individuals are treated on the basis of the relevant aptitudes, skills and abilities and that no one is in any way disadvantaged due to membership of a minority group.

We participate in the Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Charter.

Our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which includes partners and staff from across the business and is chaired by Emma Bartlett Employment Partner, has specific responsibility for reviewing all areas of Diversity. Emma reports directly to the Executive Committee of the firm. That puts Diversity firmly on the agenda of the Partnership. But it doesn’t stop there. We believe that everyone in the business has a part to play in making our firm one where individuals can be themselves. That’s why we aim to ensure that our communication is open and effective, that everyone has access to relevant training so that we can continue to learn and to respect differences in our colleagues

Charles Russell Speechlys has published its statistics for a number of years, and the latest statistics (for partners/employees based in England and Wales) are available here.

Gender Pay

As a firm we welcome the transparency and accountability that the Gender Pay Gap reporting brings to both our existing employees and to our future workforce. It is a topic of particular interest to us and we have been working as a Firm to improve the gender balance and diversity at all levels in our business. Our aspiration is to create a diverse Firm with a truly inclusive culture.

Gender and Ethnicity Pay Report - Published May 2020

Gender Pay Report - Published March 2019 

Gender Pay Report - Published February 2018

Purple Tuesday

We are proud to support the Purple Tuesday initiative which is a call to action for firms to commit to at least one action to improve the experience for their customers/clients living with disabilities, either directly or through employee initiatives that will ultimately provide a better experience for their customers/clients.  We are pleased to announce that we support this initiative and are a 2019 participating firm.    Our commitment to initiatives to support this campaign include:

  • A review of our building accessibility
  • A review of our online accessibility
  • Training and raised awareness on disability inclusion

If you are someone living with a disability and you are attending one of our offices, please let us know (preferably in advance of your visit) if there are any adjustments or support that we can provide to improve your visit to our office.  You can liaise with your point of contact at the firm or reception at the relevant office.

Diversity and inclusion committee


There is strong support for diversity and inclusion initiatives in the firm. The large diversity and inclusion committee, comprising partners, associates, trainees and support staff, is divided into a number of interest groups, including gender, LGBT, disability, religion and belief and ethnicity. Age spans all subgroups.

Each subgroup meets regularly and is mandated to review and propose firm wide policies, communications and events. We discuss issues relevant to our staff and actively promote diversity & inclusions initiatives. The committee positively promotes diversity & inclusion in the firm’s activities in the local community and internal measures and programs that robustly promotes an inclusive culture.

The subgroups are supported by a core diversity group who report to the Firm’s management.

Diversity Committee Chair: Emma Bartlett
Gender Subgroup Chair: Katherine Dennis and Syma Spanjers
LGBT Subgroup Chair: Samuel Lear, James Bateman and Richard Honey
Disability Subgroup Chair: Stephanie Duncan
Religion and belief and ethnicity Subgroup Chairs: Sufia Ali and Kemi Howard 
Core Diversity Committee: David Green, Emma Bartlett, Mark Smith and Julia Dalton

Diversity and inclusion activities

Family Friendly Policies

The firm has a range of policies to support work life balance for our lawyers and support staff, balanced with the needs of the business. We recognise that our staff have responsibilities and interests outside of work and may need different support at different times of their careers due to changes and events outside of work. Nothing stays the same! So, when life changes there are a growing number of avenues for support including different leave policies for parents, shared parental leave policy, support for parent returners, flexible working and sabbatical policies. 

The Firm introduced a Carers Network in 2017 for anyone with caring responsibilities or anyone who may need support or care. It can be difficult to know where to start in finding support both financially and practically when in a caring situation, whether that happens suddenly or over time, and the Carers Network aims to provide a supportive ear, practical information and to assist in any other way needed.

We continually review the relevance of our existing policies and support and consider new approaches.

Cityparents mentoring

We are members of Cityparents which provides a networking forum for working parents in the City. Offering regular professional networking events it is a chance to meet other working parents and to hear relevant, high quality advice and recommendations. The focus is on some of the challenges presented by managing working life in the City with young children whether it is whether it is exploring flexible working options, childcare solutions that suit working hours and budget or dealing with colleagues' expectations

Mentoring in the workplace

We assign an individual mentor to each of our trainees to provide them with support and guidance from the moment they join the firm, right through to qualification. The mentors are usually recently qualified and have been through our trainee process themselves with the intention that they draw on their own recent experiences to guide trainees through their training contract. 

Mentoring in the Community

We mentor sixth form students at City and Islington College as they prepare to enter the workplace.

“I am really looking forward to being involved in this scheme as I would like to help the student, in any way I can, to understand what options may be available for future study or careers. For many people, their thoughts of what may be achievable or possible are limited by what their family or friends do and I hope to contribute to the student thinking of possible alternative paths that they may enjoy. ” Senior Counsel, Charles Russell Speechlys and mentor

Social Mobility

Our community work includes offering work experience to sixth form students from William Ellis School, City & Islington Sixth Form College and St Saviours and St Olaves School through our participation in the Legal Social Mobility Partnership and as signatories of PRIME, which is the commitment by law firms to broadening access to the legal profession by providing fair access to high quality work experience. We maintain ongoing links with students who have taken part in our programmes helping them with university applications and interviews. In our Cheltenham office we work with the Pathways to Law programme of the Sutton Trust.

Raising Awareness

Every member of staff participates in a training module on diversity and inclusion.


We seek out and support popular networking events such as Women in Law, Women in Property, The Network of Networks, LegalBest, InterLaw the Law Society, CityParents. We recognise and celebrate diversity through the different religious calendars, and festivals. We are members of Stonewall signatories to the Law Society Diversity Charter and members of the Legal Social Mobility Partnership.