We are steadfast in our commitment to making Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner a diverse and inclusive firm. We believe that diversity enriches the quality and fabric of our culture and makes us a stronger, better firm. We strive every day to create an inclusive workplace where every individual can be themselves and can contribute meaningfully to the firm’s success.
The strategy comprises of six key areas of focus: Disability, Family & Carers, Gender Representation, LGBTQ*, Mental Health & Wellbeing and Social Inclusion & Ethnicity.
“At BCLP, we are committed to creating and maintaining an environment in which our people feel able to bring their whole selves to work. We promote a culture in which everyone feels supported and able to openly discuss their mental health. We should also remember that we all have mental health, just as we all have physical health.
As the Partner Champion for the Wellbeing programme, I am proud of the support that we have in place with regards to mental health, including our Mental Health First Aiders, Mental Health Champions and Mental Health Network. We also run regular Mindfulness programmes, yoga classes and a number of other wider wellbeing events, which cover topics in relation to physical health, financial and nutritional wellbeing.”
Mark Richards, Partner
“As Partner Champions for the firm’s Disability Group, we recognise how important it is to create an environment where people feel comfortable speaking openly about disability. Our Disability Group has acted as a catalyst for change at BCLP – informing and driving the firm’s approach to disability.”
Tessa Kimber, Partner & Elizabeth Kicks, Partner
"At BCLP we are really, genuinely focused on the retention and promotion of our female talent. We’re not just talking about it; we’re actually taking action.
On a personal level this is something I feel very strongly about. I have two daughters. A wealth of research that I have read estimates that it will take between 50-70 years to get to an equal gender balance and that just isn’t good enough. I, and my colleagues at BCLP, are committed to seeing that change."
Akhil Markanday, Partner
"I think for some people LGBTQ* issues seem like something that arise in childhood – problems at school, or adolescence – but it’s important to recognise that for many people these issues do arise in the workplace. Research suggests that something like one in four people go back into the closet when they start work. What the LGBTQ* and Allies groups at BCLP are trying to do is change that.
I think it’s important for us to champion LGBTQ* issues so that everyone knows they are able to flourish here and truly be themselves."
Jamie Sherman, Associate
"When I look around the City of London, I see lots of black faces. However, the levels of ethnic diversity simply decrease as you become more senior in the corporate world. This clearly isn’t just a BCLP issue; it’s a City-wide issue.
What we can do as a firm is make sure that the really bright talent that is out there don’t ‘self-select’ out. I was really excited to be part of one of our initiatives called ‘Race for Change’, where we invited black students in from across the country and had a really honest conversation about the realities of the legal profession and how we can collectively make progress for the future.
Don’t feel that you won’t fit in. There are great opportunities for you at welcoming places like BCLP."
Daniel Burnand, Associate
"The role of someone who works and someone who has family commitments is not as compartmentalised as it used to be. Both men and women are increasingly sharing responsibilities outside of work, and so this issue affects everybody.
The Family Group are there to identify ways to support people in the firm with balancing these roles, so they don’t feel like it’s an ‘either/or’ situation.
If employees are receiving support and guidance at work that helps their family lives, it will inevitably reflect in both their ongoing commitment to the firm and how they perform. My husband and I are balancing our work commitments with running a family home on a daily basis, and the support we’ve both received from our respective firms has been invaluable."
Jasmine Sherr, Associate
BCLP has been ranked 2nd in in the top 10 most LGBT* inclusive places to work in the UK, in Stonewall’s 2019 Workplace Equality Index (WEI). The Stonewall Top 100 Employers are the best performing employers on this annual cross-sector audit of UK workplace culture for LGBT* staff. BCLP have ranked in the top 10 for last three consecutive years.
BLP placed 2nd in the ranking, rising from 7th last year and 8th in 2017. Additionally BCLP has also been listed in Stonewall’s highly commended network group section for the Top 100 in 2019.
BCLP has been named in the inaugural Stonewall Top Trans Employer category which comprises a shortlist of 14 national organisations who have demonstrated commitment and achievements towards trans inclusion.
BCLP were specifically commended for market-leading practices, such as introducing gender-neutral bathrooms, their reverse mentoring programme, and joint initiatives with competitors and clients to promote inclusion in the sector and beyond. BCLP also teamed up with Stonewall in January 2019 to host the Stonewall Trans Allies Training Programme.
For the second successive year BCLP has been the top ranked law firm for improving social mobility in the workplace, according to the second annual Social Mobility Employer Index.
BCLP placed 4th out of more than 100 employers across 18 sectors in the Index, which ranks the UK’s employers on the actions they are taking to promote access and progress talent from all backgrounds. The Social Mobility Employer Index assesses employers across seven areas, including the work they do with young people, their recruitment and selection processes and how people from lower income backgrounds progress within their organisations.
We are partners of the 30% Club Mentoring Scheme. This program provides high-performing, potential partnership track women with mentoring from an external senior business leader. The program has the ultimate goal of broadening the pipeline of female talent in attaining leadership positions in their respective organisations.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has signed up to the United Nations’ Global LGBTQ* Standards of Conduct for Business, reaffirming its commitment to having a workplace where everyone is valued, motivated and able to be themselves.
The UN launched the global standards in September 2017 to support the business community in tackling discrimination against LGBTQ* people. The standards are grounded in existing international human rights law and are in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
BLP was ranked as the 7th most inclusive UK employer in the 2017 Inclusive Top 50 rankings, the highest placing of any law firm. The ranking rewards the outstanding efforts of organisations to reinforce their commitment to attracting and retaining a truly diverse workforce, achieving equality, diversity and inclusion. A dedicated panel of judges compiled the list, scoring organisations based on their performance on a range of areas within the diversity arena.
BLP puts Diversity & Inclusion at the core part of its Firmwide strategy, and has active Culture, Disability, Family, Gender Representation, LGBT* and Social Inclusion and Ethnicity networks.
Claire England, Head of Diversity & Inclusivity, said: “it is great to be recognised as one of The Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers, we have worked hard in the last couple of years to continue to foster an inclusive workplace. We are thrilled to be recognised externally for this our efforts, particularly in an index with some prestigious organisations from both within our sector and elsewhere.”
BLP has been named as an employer leading the way in building flexible, family friendly UK workplaces. Employers large and small from many sectors compete annually to gain a place on the list of Top Employers for working families.
The list is compiled by work life balance charity Working Families. Employers answer in-depth questions and are scored on key areas to build a comprehensive picture of their flexible and family friendly working environment.
Sarah Jackson OBE, Chief Executive of Working Families, said:
"Congratulations to BLP whose flexible, agile approach has earned them a much-coveted place on 2017’s list of Top 30 Employers for Working Families. The annual benchmark provides a clear picture, not just of current practice, but also the evolving way in which organisations think about work life balance and flexible working".
"I am the joint partner champion of the firm’s Social Inclusion and Ethnicity Group. This is something I am truly passionate about given my background and route into the legal profession. I am proud of the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Our recruitment initiatives, like Career Kick Start and Race for Change demonstrate how we aim to recruit the best talent from diverse backgrounds . Our focus on retention is promoted through an inclusive culture which ensures we are meritocratic in providing opportunities to all."
"BCLP has consistently ranked as a top ten LGBTQ* employer in the UK-wide and cross-sector Stonewall Work Equality Index and is also a Stonewall Top Trans Employer. I have been ‘out’ since I was a trainee (a very long time ago…) and, as well as being a Banking partner and Graduate Recruitment partner, I am one of the LGBTQ* Champions here. Come and join our award-winning LGBTQ* group or join our allies network. At BCLP you truly can BE YOU."
“We want to recruit and retain the best people. Statistics show that almost a fifth of the working age population have a disability, and even more are indirectly affected by disability through family and friends. We are committed to creating the right environment to ensure that we don’t miss out on this huge talent pool. Becoming a solicitor can be tough for anyone, and we recognise that there are additional barriers for people with a disability to overcome. We want to encourage and help people to overcome these barriers, because we truly believe that the best and most effective teams are those which are fully diverse and made up of people with different perspectives.”
"It’s been such a positive experience seeing the change in attitudes to LGBT issues over my 30 years in the City, and even more exciting that BCLP has been at the forefront of this change. The drive for LGBT equality has also had a resonance far beyond the LGBT community – it speaks volumes for the culture of mutual respect we want to show all colleagues, clients and potential recruits."
Aspiring Solicitors is a leading legal diversity platform in the UK. The organisation targets diverse undergraduates, postgraduates and graduates aiming to enter the legal profession through a combination of mentoring and coaching services, diversity specific events, placements and competitions. BCLP are proud to be an Affiliate Partner of Aspiring Solicitors and, in 2019, 59% of our trainee intake were Aspiring Solicitors members from underrepresented groups in the legal profession.