‘Turn positive intentions into positive action and create a level playing field for all,’ group writes
The primary voice of black solicitors across the UK has urged law firm leaders to “walk the talk” on diversity.
The Black Solicitors Network (BSN) put out its call to action for racial inequalities in the workplace in an open letter published yesterday.
“The tragedy of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of those who are meant to protect and to serve and the ensuing outpouring across the world has led to a surge of ‘courageous conversations’ in the workplace,” the letter begins. The BSN encourages these conversations, it adds, but importantly, “challenge[s] firms and organisations to ‘walk the talk’, to turn positive intentions into positive action and create a level playing field for all.”
The network, chaired by Linklaters counsel Paulette Mastin, states that racial inequalities that pervade the legal profession can only be redressed if firms build “accountability” into their diversity initiatives, with “recruitment, retention and promotion” strategies at their core.
“Such positive actions require a change in organisational culture and that change can only occur if senior management is willing to take the tangible steps needed to create a truly inclusive and diverse legal workforce,” the letter continues.
It goes on to outline five “action points” law firms and other legal services providers (including in-house legal teams) should anchor their diversity efforts around. These include metrics, targets and accountability; retention; promotion; organisational culture — inclusive leadership; and external diversity engagement/social impact.