Diversity – good news

Diversity – good news

I’m optimistic about the launch of a new initiative called NOTICED (Networking Opportunities to Integrate, Celebrate, and Educate on Diversity).

It was launched at the Law Society on 20th March 2013, and will feature a series of events at which legal professionals from all backgrounds can network, debate diversity issues and share good practice, in an effort to make the legal industry more accessible and boost cultural awareness. Behind the NOTICED initiative are eight city firms including Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), Hogan Lovells and Eversheds.

Timely; a recent Law Society report found that law firms are improving on diversity and inclusion performance but there is still some way to go.  Key areas of improvement include building stronger leadership for equality and diversity and sharing good practice.

Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff reflects back what I see on a daily basis – that the partnership profile of most firms still shows under-representation of women, BAME, disabled and LGBT solicitors. Yet, where we also agree, is that the leadership of many firms is actively confronting this challenge.

On a related point, I’m aware of a DLA Piper initiative entitled ‘Break into Law’. This is a global initiative aiming to make it easier for currently underrepresented groups of young people to pursue legal careers by offering mentoring, work experience, CV and interview skills training and scholarships through its offices worldwide. More positive news.

Valuing diversity creates opportunities for attracting talent, building social capital, engaging with communities outside the firm and for tailoring services and creating innovation – the lifeblood of competition.  And competitiveness leads to profitability.

What’s not to like?

Simon Bernstein, MD, Empathy