Norton Rose Fulbright sets BAME trainee recruitment target of 25%

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Follows similar ethnicity goals by Links, A&O and HSF

Norton Rose Fulbright’s London office

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) has become the latest global law firm to announce a series of diversity targets.

The firm says it aims to have 25% black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) trainees in the UK, including 10% black trainees, annually. Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List shows NRF recruits around 45 rookies each year.

NRF has also introduced ethnicity targets for partners and staff. By 2025, the firm wants 15% of partners and 25% of its workforce to be BAME. These figures currently stand at 8% and 19% respectively.

Peter Scott, managing partner, Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA), commented: “Change is needed in the legal sector and we aim to be at the forefront of this movement. Whilst we have made progress, we know that more needs to be done in our business to attract, retain, develop, and engage colleagues who are black, Asian and of minority ethnic backgrounds. Our strategy and action plan sets out how we will address systemic barriers to create a truly inclusive workplace.”

The 2021 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

The move comes just days after Linklaters unveiled a series of “aspirational” diversity targets of its own. ​Starting from the 2020/21 recruitment cycle, the magic circle player aims to have 35% ethnic minority trainees in the UK, including 10% black trainees, each year. The goal is slightly higher in the US — 50% minority ethnic first years, of whom 10% will be black.

Other firms to set unveil similar rookie recruitment objectives in recent weeks include Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills. The former is targeting 35% minority ethnic trainees, including 10% black trainees, each year, while the latter 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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This is obviously good news, but I can’t help but feel 25% is a little low.



What makes you say that (genuine question)? We definitely need to do more to ensure diversity in law, but also worth noting that in the UK, BAME only makes up c. 14% of the population.

If aiming for higher numbers than proportionate to the population, we create even less opportunity for those from low socio-economic backgrounds (BAME and non BAME).



Yes. White working class boys are the lowest performing group in society. Yet those CRT looneys say that have ‘white privilege’.


White Working Class Male

They do. White privilege isn’t an all encompassing thing. It means that their skin colour isn’t the thing that sets them back. There are lots of other types of privilege like class, sexuality, geographic etc. One can have white privilege and still be disadvantaged.


Smart Georgey

I personally think that targets are not ideal. In an ideal world, people should be recruited based on merits. However, for those that do not understand the need for quotas, it is used as a stepping stone to deal with a challenge.

For example, some people do not have equal backgrounds. I might lack electricity , be a foster kid, disabilities and much more and another person might not. Hence the other person has less distractions or hurdles in their lives and might be able to advance. Where BAME come in , is that a certain percentage of BAME student might face similar but different hurdles, such as not going to private schools such as eton, or foreign accent/langauge barriers or employers having bias to their names, location, or not having a lot of role model examples of diverse lawyers in their lives.

another example could be oxford and cambridge university. I have met many bright and incredible BAME students that could easily scrap entry into oxbridge, but never considered it because they are aware if the diversity problems that oxford has. so they dont consider it. ” if they dont accept black people or have any , then why should i waste my ucas applying there”

so lets move towards a future where merit is the aim, but employers acknowledge the hurdles. Also for white working class individuals as well.



It’s about time law firms were honest – they couldn’t care less about disability discrimination.


Concerned BAME associate

The target exceeds the 13.8% of the UK population who identify as BAME and is unrealistic without arguments from within the firm (even if not publicly voiced) of positive discrimination.

No one wants to feel they’ve been employed to help hit a target.



Jarrod does.



I think that 100% of the jobs should go to the best candidate, irrespective of ethnicity.


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