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Linklaters sets ‘aspirational’ 35% ethnic minority recruitment target for trainee solicitors

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Follows similar moves by A&O and HSF

Linklaters has unveiled a series of “aspirational” diversity targets as part of the magic circle player’s ongoing efforts to improve the representation of black and under-represented minority ethnic lawyers across its ranks.

​Starting from the 2020/21 recruitment cycle, the firm aims to have 35% ethnic minority trainees in the UK, including 10% black trainees, each year. The “aspirational” aim is slightly higher in the firm’s US offices — 50% minority ethnic first years, of whom 10% will be black.

Links is also targeting a 15% black and under-represented minority ethnic partnership both in the UK and US by 2025, and five times as many black partners globally by 2027.

The move comes just weeks after Allen & Overy (A&O) and Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) unveiled similar diversity goals.

A&O aims to have 35% minority ethnic trainees, including 10% black trainees, each year, as well as to equalise retention rates for trainees, with particular focus on retaining more black associates. HSF, meanwhile, pledged the proportion of minority ethnic trainees retained as newly-qualified (NQ) lawyers will be at least the same as the proportion of minority ethnic trainees in each intake.

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Links also announced a raft of additional measures to create a more inclusive culture within the firm, including the formation of a ‘Black Diversity Council’ to hold the firm to account on progress; train staff on anti-racism over the next 12 months; and hold all partners and directors accountable for racial diversity in their practices and teams.

Charlie Jacobs, senior partner and senior champion for race & ethnicity at Linklaters, commented:

“As a firm, we pride ourselves on our values of respect, integrity and inclusion and we are calling on those values to stand against racism and champion equality. We must do better as a firm, industry and society to ensure greater representation of black and minority ethnic groups at all levels of business.”

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