A Difference to NOTICE: City firms urged to set ‘aspirational’ BAME retention targets

April 25, 2019

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2 min read

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What's going on here?

Law firm diversity network NOTICED has published its Best Practices Report, which suggests that firms should be setting “aspirational targets” for the recruitment and retention of employees from BAME backgrounds.

What does this mean?

NOTICED is the UK’s first inter-firm diversity network, which has attracted many of the biggest firms as its members (including Allen & Overy, Baker McKenzie, Ashurst and Hogan Lovells). The main objective of the network is to encourage black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) lawyers into the legal profession. NOTICED printing its Best Practices Report is a major step forward in achieving this objective.

The report is based on two government-backed diversity reports on race in the workplace (the Parker Review and the McGregor-Smith Review). The Best Practices Report has used the findings from the reviews to produce five recommendations which would allow law firms to embrace multiculturalism and ensure that their recruitment system is as diverse as possible. The five recommendations are:

  1. To use robust and comprehensive strategies to gather data on BAME employees

  2. The continuing evaluation of the firms’ recruitment processes

  3. The development of an action plan which allows firms to ascertain whether retention of BAME employees is an issue

  4. The development of a plan to reduce attrition of BAME employees and

  5. The adoption of aspirational targets

Why should law firms care?

Law firms are taking stronger action to ensure that they’re attracting a more diverse workforce and are recognising the benefits that diversity can bring. As stated in the McGregor Smith report, “diverse organisations that attract and develop individuals from the widest pool of talent consistently perform better.” Networks like NOTICED are providing an effective way for law firms to practically implement methods to achieve diversity, and the Report provides an excellent source of recommendations and knowledge for the member firms to implement.

However, it remains to be seen whether the recommendations will be implemented. Not only are the recommendations fully optional – and thus dependant on the willingness of the firms to act – but the Report offers no guidance on what the “aspirational targets” should entail. Nevertheless, the benefits of networks such as NOTICED cannot be disputed and given that the Best Practices Report will be updated every year, the future outlook looks extremely positive.

Report written by Matthew L

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