City firms and agencies to launch ‘Recruitment Agency Race Fairness Commitment’

updated on 06 November 2020

City firms Ashurst, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills, Slaughter and May, and Travers Smith have teamed up with 34 recruitment agencies to launch the ‘Recruitment Agency Race Fairness Commitment’ in an effort to improve racial diversity in the legal profession.

The firms and recruitment agencies will be working together to ensure that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) lawyers are exposed to the same opportunities as their colleagues, according to the Law Gazette.

The agencies’ candidate pools must at least match the UK’s overall ethnic diversity and “aspire to the local population if greater”, under the agreement. The agencies must also explore contextual backgrounds of BAME candidates and request feedback where an ethnic minority candidate has not been hired.

Progress must be reported annually by the recruitment agencies.

Following the Black Lives Matter protests, City firms including Norton Rose Fulbright, Linklaters and Dentons have updated their ethnicity targets reflecting a shift in focus from gender equality to racial diversity.

Meanwhile, the Race Fairness Commitment, which is a data-driven approach to facilitate the profession to recruit, retain and develop BAME talent, has been signed by around 30 firms, reports the Law Gazette.