There continue to be high rates of attrition among Black, Asian, and minority ethnic ("BAME") lawyers in the workplace, and there are multiple challenges around promotion and advancement. The SRA's 2017 report, Mapping advantages and disadvantages: Diversity in the legal profession in England and Wales, found that white males were the most likely to succeed to partnership, with the average probability being 73.5%; and that BAME females were the least likely to make partnership, with the average probability being only 13%.
At InterLaw Diversity Forum, we are keen to directly address challenges and to provide practical and impactful solutions to help open the doors to early-careers talent, and to help maintain steady career traction for those diverse lawyers already in the pipeline. The SRA research echoes InterLaw Diversity Forum's own research, The Career Progression Report, which was conducted in 2012. InterLaw Diversity Forum will be releasing a new Career Progression Report for the legal sector later in 2018.
Our “Advancing Your Career” interactive workshop provided an opportunity to directly address some of the workplace challenges faced by BAME lawyers and other legal-sector employees. We called upon the expertise of senior recruiters from varied backgrounds to share their experiences of working with diverse lawyers whilst also providing practical solutions on career advancement to a mix of paralegals, trainees, associates and senior associates, as well as mid-level managers from non-legal backgrounds.
Hult International Business School
DAC Beachcroft LLP
Berwin Leighton Paisner
Slaughter & May
Allen & Overy
Womble Bond Dickinson
Wellers Law Group
Chambers and Partners
Currently unemployed and actively seeking work.
Our experts included Cynthia Davies, CEO of BAME Recruitment; Neel Mehta, Principal Legal Consultant from Hays; and Mariyam Hassan, Head of Wellbeing and Benefits at Shearman and Sterling. The session was moderated by Daniel Winterfeldt, Founder and Chair of InterLaw Diversity Forum and Partner at Reed Smith; and by Dee Sekar, Deputy Chair of InterLaw Diversity Forum and Corporate Responsibility Manger at Gowling WLG.
The experts worked with the delegates in discussing the following challenges:
1. Personal branding