Law firms launch initiative to address diversity issues in the profession

updated on 05 November 2021

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Several law firms, including Clifford Chance and Macfarlanes LLP, have launched a leadership-led, cross-firm collective developed to improve the representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in the UK legal profession.

The collective – Legal CORE (Collaboration on Race and Ethnicity) – was founded by Allen & Overy LLP, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Linklaters LLP, Macfarlanes, Norton Rose Fulbright and Slaughter and May in 2020, before being launched at the end of October 2021.

Now with 22 law firm members and led by the member firms’ diversity and inclusion leads and senior partners, Legal CORE is set to host a “cross-firm hackathon”. This involves bringing together people from across the industry to develop ideas on improving retention and progression for lawyers from ethnic minority backgrounds.

A “leadership forum” is also due to be piloted, which will give senior leaders from the eight founding firms a chance to explore how they can implement change within their own firms; and a “best practice forum”, which will consider the most effective solutions to address the diversity failings, including reverse mentoring.

The Legal CORE founding members said: “By taking a sector-wide approach we believe that we can have a more substantial and sustainable impact than by acting as individual firms.”

To find out more about the work happening to improve diversity in the legal profession, visit LawCareers.Net’s Diversity Hub, sponsored by Gowling WLG (UK) LLP.