'NOTICED' network identifies areas of improvement for city law firms concerning multiculturalism and diversity

NOTICED, the first UK inter-firm diversity network, last night launched a Best Practice Report including their top five recommendations enabling law firms to continue to show their support for multiculturalism and diversity recruitment. NOTICED member Hogan Lovells hosted the launch where District Judge Tan Ikram shared his views on the issues highlighted by and recommendations made in the report.

Prior to their Best Practice Report launch, the network members took part in a roundtable event last year with a view to gather responses and discussions to shed some light on current practice amongst City law firms and identified areas for improvement.

The group identified a number of steps for law firms to consider, including:

  • Adopting or developing more robust and comprehensive strategies to gather data on BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) employees;
  • Continuing to evaluate recruitment processes to eliminate any obstacles to employment from the widest pool of talent;
  • Developing an action plan to better understand whether retention of employees from a BAME background is an issue;
  • Developing an action plan to counter attrition of employees from a BAME background to the extent that this is identified as an issue and;
  • Adopting aspirational targets in relation to the recruitment and retention of employees from a BAME background.

The roundtable session and report were based on the recommendations of a number of recent initiatives including the publication by the government-backed Parker Review Committee on its final report on the ethnic diversity of UK boards and the McGregor-Smith Review, which highlighted the business and moral case for BAME inclusion and progression in the workplace.

NOTICED's co-chair and senior associate at Herbert Smith Freehills, Siddhartha Shukla, said: "Having examined the Parker Review and the McGregor-Smith Review, I am confident that our network has identified the key themes that law firms and other organisations in the UK would be open to considering and implementing. These recommendations should also help to reassure future candidates that diversity and inclusion are more than just buzzwords for law firms."

Member of the NOTICED steering committee and associate at Hogan Lovells, Atrayee Basu, said: "This report represents an important step towards helping law firms to better understand the concerns of their BAME communities and to create a culture which is conducive to the success of everyone regardless of background. We hope this report will inspire actions to improve BAME recruitment and retention across the City and beyond."

The best practice discussion session was attended by representatives of member firms, including partners, associates, trainees and heads of diversity and inclusion.

NOTICED's network is aimed at promoting networking opportunities to integrate, celebrate and educate on diversity across the legal sector. Their objectives are to encourage diversity in the legal profession and amongst member firms with a view to making the profession more accessible to individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds and to raise awareness about issues faced by ethnic minorities, not just in accessing the profession but also in their progression within the profession.

You can read the full Best Practice Report here.

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