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.
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
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.
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.