Diversity and inclusion is taken very seriously at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. We need to be diverse in order to be innovative and our clients are increasingly demanding to see us as leaders in this respect. To be actively inclusive is more than simply ‘not discriminating’. It is about truly valuing everyone for who they are and celebrating their individuality.
The strategy comprises of six key areas of focus: Culture, Disability, Family, Gender Representation, LGBT* (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) and Social Inclusion and Ethnicity.
"Having been at the firm for a great number of years, the thing that attracted me initially and the reason I’m still here is the culture. I think it’s very important that we have a task-group of people who look to preserve the supportive and collaborative working dynamics which we have worked hard to put in place.
It’s very important not just for the people who work here but also it’s important for our clients. It’s something that people looking to work at or with Bryan Cave Leighton Pasiner place great emphasis on."
Simon Pollock, Partner Investment Management
We are committed to making all stages of our recruitment process accessible to candidates with disabilities or long-term health conditions. If you consider yourself to have a disability or a long-term health condition, please feel able to be open about this at any point during the recruitment process. Our Resourcing team will support you in any way we can to establish the most suitable adjustments at each stage of the recruitment process.
“Disability impacts people in many different ways including: visible, non-visible, physical, and mental. Even if you don’t have a disability personally, most people will be impacted in some way - perhaps in relation to a friend or family member. On a personal level, I have been supported by the firm to seek external help to deal with my disability in the work place, but also being provided with additional technology and coaching which has made my time as a trainee easier. On a broader level, Bryan Cave Leighton Pasiner is committed to raising the consciousness of disability at the firm. Although there are still a lot of barriers which can mean it is more difficult to access the legal world with a disability, I think it is great that Bryan Cave Leighton Pasiner is trying to change this. We have an active Disability Network which is working to both support people who are both directly impacted and indirectly impacted by disability. Amongst other things, as a group, we have held events to raise people’s awareness of the brevity of the issues with both internal and external speakers.”
Rachel Lobley, Trainee, Litigation and Corporate Risk
"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 Real Estate
"At Bryan Cave Leighton Paisnerwe 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 Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, are committed to seeing that change."
Akhil Markanday, Partner, Litigation and Corporate Risk
"I think for some people LGBT* 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 LGBT* and Allies groups at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner are trying to do is change that.
I think it’s important for us to champion LGBT* issues so that everyone knows they are able to flourish here and truly be themselves."
Jamie Sherman, Associate Asset Finance
"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 Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner 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 Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner."
Daniel Burnand, Junior Associate Real Estate
"For me, social inclusivity is really important. Bright young people should be able to achieve whatever they want to, irrespective of their social or educational background. Unfortunately, there are still lots of barriers for people from low socio-economic backgrounds to enter the legal profession.
It’s really encouraging that the Social Inclusion and Ethnicity group here is so active. I’ve been involved in a mentoring programme with an academy in the borough of Newham, talking to young people about what they want from life and how they can get it. It isn’t about trying to convince them to become lawyers, but empowering them to succeed. It’s really rewarding – not only that, it’s really fun."
Rosie Kynman, Associate Employment
BLP has been named one of the top 10 most LGBT* inclusive places to work in the UK, in Stonewall’s 2018 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.
BLP placed 7th in the ranking, rising from 8th last year and 102nd in 2016, in a submission round that saw over 400 employers taking part. Additionally BLP has also been listed in Stonewall’s highly commended network group section for the Top 100 in 2018.
BLP has been named in the inaugural Stonewall Top Trans Employer category which comprises a shortlist of 11 national organisations who have demonstrated commitment and achievements towards trans inclusion.
BLP 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.
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".
BLP was the top-ranked law firm in the first ever Social Mobility Employer Index in association with The Times newspaper. The ranking assesses organisations on their social mobility efforts across a range of different areas including outreach to schools, work experience, mentoring and opportunities for school leavers.
Placing 8th out of nearly 100 submitting businesses, we were commended for our work experience and apprenticeship programmes.
“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.”
"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."
"As Co-Chair of the firm’s Social Inclusion and Ethnicity Group, I have seen first-hand the impact diversity brings – to our management decisions and to our environment day to day across the firm. Our approach has opened up a broader and more diverse pool of candidates. We are wholly committed to recruiting and retaining talent that comes from all backgrounds – knowing that our diversity is what will bring innovation and enable us to stand out."
"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."