Diversity and inclusiveness
We are committed to promoting an environment of inclusiveness and mutual respect.
Our success depends on our ability to reflect the diversity of our clients and society at large. We want our talented people to excel regardless of their gender, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion or belief, culture, impairment, background or life experiences.
We believe that:
- our aspirations and ambitions can only be achieved if inclusiveness and diversity are understood and embedded into all aspects of the firm's systems, processes and culture across all our offices;
- businesses will make faster progress by working together - so our outward focus must be as strong as our internal ideals;
- we must recruit from the widest talent pools and everyone should feel at ease in the workplace;
- everyone is able to achieve their maximum potential through appropriate development and support and we must do all we can to retain our top talent;
- consulting with clients, other organizations in the legal sector and diversity organizations helps us identify best practices, establish priorities and become a market leader in diversity initiatives; and
- we need challenging yet realistic goals to assess our progress and it's important to us to be open about how we are doing.
We run a variety of programs that include a film and speaker series where we use films and lectures to spark discussions about diversity and relevant topics and unconscious-bias training. Our signature programs include:
The strategic excellence program
Our long-term strategy focuses on promoting more female lawyers to partner. Designed for senior women within the firm, this program is part of our global gender action plan. It supports the retention and development of our female lawyers and helps them grow as role models. Both male and female partners act as mentors, learning about the issues facing women in the workplace and passing on vital experience and skills. It enables participants to develop their leadership and communication skills while becoming role models for junior women.
The halo program
The LGBT network, formed in 2007, provides guidance and support for an inclusive and respectful environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender colleagues throughout the firm. Halo contributes to the firm's diversity agenda by creating networking opportunities both inside the firm and with similar client organizations, offering professional development programs and conferences, and advising management on LGBT issues.
In the past year, the firm hosted its first ever LGBT conference which brought together LGBT colleagues from across the firm's network; anti-bullying champion Ben Cohen visited the firm for a Q&A evening; the firm supported London's bid to host the 2018 Gay Games; and Freshfields continued to work with Diversity Role Models, a charity that works to eliminate homophobic bullying in schools.
The diversity that our clients represent needs to be reflected in the lawyers doing their legal work.
And, we have been recognized for our efforts. In 2014, we were named one of the top employers for LGBT staff in the annual Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. A leading diversity benchmark, the Index specifically looks at how inclusive organizations are with respect to LGBT diversity.
For more information on our approach, contact Kate Millward.