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Diversity League Table Launch: Diversity in the City Part 2

By Associate, Employment

Well, it seems that diversity is the "hot topic" for us Lawyers in London at present.

In my most recent blog, I talked about the fabulous launch event for Women In Law London. This event (organised by four dynamic female city lawyers), focused on diversity issues particularly relating to retention and attrition rates for women in London Law firms.

Last night, it was the turn of The Black Solicitors Network. The BSN held its launch event for the Diversity League Table (DLT) which was published recently (in time for the end of Black History Month).

The DLT is an analysis of equality and diversity across four strands: gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disabilities. Law firms and Chambers across the UK are invited to take part.

It is was good to hear that Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK ranked number 2 for the percentage of female partners and number 4 for the percentage of female associates.

Overall, this year's DLT shows that there has generally been an improvement in the gender and ethnic diversity among senior staff but at a slow rate. However, the retention and attrition rates of mid-level women and BME Lawyers is still an issue. The results of the analysis are not surprising but they are nonetheless disappointing.

At the launch, a live panel discussion was chaired by international journalist and BBC News anchor, Clive Myrie which was definitely thought provoking.

The panel considered many of the key issues surrounding diversity and inclusion not just in the legal profession but across all industries.

Clive Myrie raised an interesting point during the discussion which was that diversity seems to be such a complex issue but it can also be simplified... It makes perfect sense for a workforce to represent the people it serves. If this is so obvious, why is it so difficult to achieve?

The panel touched on a number of explanations for why this is a still problem but what can be done practically to resolve these issues? Is it about tackling sexism and racism? Or is implementing quotas and targets the answer? The best way to achieve diversity is still being debated, but it is certain that the best talent available should be given the chance to progress at all levels.

The BSN continues to do an excellent job of raising awareness of this issue which is vital. But most importantly, leaders of companies/organisations need to recognise the business case for diversity/inclusion and also ensure that this message is filtered down to their direct reports and throughout the business.

A successful business is a diverse and inclusive one that reflects the society in which it operates.

Marsha Thompson is an Employment Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in central London.

For more information or to speak with an Employment Lawyer call freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help.

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