Fides are committed to creating more diverse and inclusive workplaces. Our clients feel increasing pressure from their clients to demonstrate that the makeup of their teams is reflective of where society is today. This requires a fundamental shift in mentality and approach. As such, we seek to actively promote a sense of belonging within our firm and those we represent.
Equality runs thematically throughout our offering. It is reflected in our research as well as the long and shortlists we compile. We collaborate with our clients by signing up to diversity and inclusion charters. We lead by example, providing internships and work experience to promote social mobility, as well as hosting roundtable discussions and seminars to drive the narrative around these crucial topics.
Some facts and figures:
According to the SRA, women make up 50% of the demographic within law firms numbering 50 or more partners. Albeit this is higher than the UK-wide female workforce of 47%, this statistic diverges significantly at the senior level where the percentage of female representation drops down to 29%.
Similarly, 21% of fee earners in law firms are from black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME). This compares to BAME representation of 13% across the entire workforce of the four nations.
However, while the profession as a whole appears ethnically diverse at the associate and partner level, the proportion of BAME partners and indeed racial minorities more generally, within mid to large-sized firms, tails off noticeably.
What have we resolved to do:
With these figures in mind, we have sought to revamp our internal D&I policy to help better promote equal opportunity for women and ethnic minorities in law. Besides enhanced equality, the benefits of diversity and inclusion are well documented. Findings suggest a distinct correlation between firms within the top quartile for diversity and those which lead the industry in the profitability stakes.
We aim to include at least 30% female representation in our long lists with a minimum of two female candidates per shortlist. We go above and beyond to source and include BAME candidates in shortlists, subject to relevance. If we are unable to meet these targets for any reason, we highlight the issue to clients and try to explore alternative options, such as assisting to recruit and develop senior associates who check the diversity criteria on either gender or ethnicity or both.
We encourage clients to make changes to their internal processes in order to help foster inclusion and a sense of belonging as well as enhance BAME and gender representation at interview stage.
Although a positive start, we acknowledge there remains significant room for improvement and, that the industry has many hurdles to overcome to attain true heterogeneity. As such, we continually push to broaden our knowledge and understanding of the issues and challenges faced by underrepresented groups, so as to remain innovative and fresh in our formulation of policies in this area.