"Diversity and inclusion are critical components of our firm's
strategy and key to our success. Best practice diversity and
inclusion initiatives enable the firm to do the best we can for our
employees, our clients and the business."
Geffen, Senior Partner.
Ashurst is committed to equality of approach and opportunity for
all. We recruit, develop and promote on merit, and work hard
to maintain an open, inclusive and supportive working environment.
We expect a lot of our people and want them to demand a lot of
us. Best practice in diversity and inclusion is a key factor
in managing and developing our talent.
While conscious of the importance of addressing diversity issues in
general, we are increasingly conscious (with so many of our
professional firm peers) of the need in particular to do much more
to retain and develop our female talent globally. We set
ourselves the challenging target of having 25% of our senior
management positions held by women by 2015; joined the 30% Club
Professional Services Firms initiative in late 2012 (and are now
incorporating many of the outcomes of that exercise into our global
diversity strategy); and, have signed up to the government's Think
Act Report initiative.
In the UK day to day responsibility for diversity rests with the
firm's Diversity Committee, chaired by partner Helen
Burton. The UK Committee works closely with our Diversity
Dalgleish. The committee is formed of partner, associate
and business support representatives.
Outside London, the Diversity Manager supports offices and
individuals as appropriate.
In Australia, Deputy Managing Partner Helen McKenzie is responsible
for Diversity, supported by People Development and the firm's CSR
- The firm's London office was shortlisted in 2012's Race for
Opportunity Awards for its City Law Master Class programme.
- Ashurst London was given a special commendation in Working Families
Top Employers Awards 2011 for its work on flexible working.
- In Australia the firm has been recognised as an Employer of Choice
by the Equal Opportunity for Women Agency (EOWA) each year since
2001 - the only law firm to have held this citation continuously
since its inception.
- In the area of mental health and wellbeing our firm in Australia
was delighted to receive a 2011 Australian Human Resources
Institute Award for Health & Wellbeing in the Workplace
recognising our collaboration with other top tier firms on the
In the UK the firm conducts equal opportunities monitoring on a
Click here to see our most recent UK equal
opportunities monitoring information.
In Australia the firm reports annually on all elements of its
progress in this area to EOWA.
In the UK the firm is proud to belong to and support:
- the 30% Club
- the Social Mobility Foundation
- Working Families
- the Business Disability Forum
- Stonewall (Ashurst is a Diversity Champion).
The firm is a signatory to the Law Society's Diversity and
Inclusion Charter, the Coalition's Social Mobility Business
Compact and the government's 'Think Act Report' initiative
(click here to read our first report).
In Australia the firm is a member of the Diversity Council of
Current initiatives in the UK
Recruitment and widening participation
In both its legal and business services recruitment, Ashurst is
increasingly focused on the need to recruit from the widest range
of appropriate sources. To this end, it supports a number of
initiatives which enable the firm to raise awareness among, and
seek talent from, under-represented groups. The firm
advertises in a variety of different publications to ensure that it
reaches out to different groups, and attends events such as the
Diversity Careers Show. Our Graduate Recruitment team works
with Sponsors for Educational Opportunities to
recruit students for summer vacation schemes and worked with the City Solicitors' Education Trust for many years.
The firm took part in 'OPEN', a legal sector
disability recruitment event held each year since 2010.
We organise an annual CV and Interview Skills Master Class to help
BME students with the development of CV and interview skills.
We are signatories to PRIME, the work experience
commitment developed by the legal profession. PRIME was established
through the collective view that an industry standard was required
to ensure fair access to quality work experience for school-age
students across the UK. Our Access Ashurst scheme provides
work experience placements for students from less advantaged
backgrounds who want to find out how the legal profession works -
we offer information and insights into Finance, IT, Human
Resources, Marketing and Business Development as well as law.
More details can be found on the PRIME website: www.primecommitment.org
We support and work with:
- the Social Mobility Foundation (mentoring of sixth
formers from non-traditional backgrounds)
- the National Autism Society (offering work
- the Tower Hamlets 'Getting Ahead' scheme (raising
awareness and aspiration through matching volunteers with 14-16
- Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership (mentoring youths from the local community)
- the Private Equity Foundation - financial and
professional support for a range of organisations addressing the
needs of NEETs
Networking and employee support
- Ashurst has an active LGBT network, Spectrum,
which holds regular events, including fund raising events for the
Food Chain, a charity providing nutrition services (including home
delivered meals, essential groceries and advice) to men, women and
children with HIV related illness.
- Ashurst's Women's Network, founded in 2008, holds
networking and educational events both internally and for clients.
The network has raised funds for the Women of the Year Foundation
and runs a week long programme of events for International Women's
Day each year. It is actively involved in the development of
initiatives to support the retention and development of female
talent in the firm, including maternity transition coaching,
mentoring programmes and gender specific skills
- Internal events aimed at educating and engaging staff are held to
mark events such as Black History Month, International
- The firm accomodates numerous flexible
working arrangements, and offers e-learning modules
to support both those who work flexibly and those who manage
flexible workers. These efforts were recognised with a Special
Commendation in the Working Families Top Employers Awards
- Members of staff are able to book emergency
childcare and a range of other services through the firm's
membership of My Family Care (who also provide much of our
- Maternity transition coaching was introduced for all in 2012.
- The firm has a dedicated Prayer room available to
all staff and clients, and regularly marks major religious or
cultural festivals with information for colleagues and traditional
dishes in the staff restaurant.
The firm first developed a tailored in-house diversity
training programme - "Working without
Prejudice" - in 2007. The training was completely
reviewed and updated in 2011/12. The training is compulsory
for all employees and partners.
Ashurst staff volunteer each week at the Disability Law
Service, staffing telephone helplines. All of our
buildings have undergone a Disability Discrimination Act audit to
ensure compliance and accessibility.
Many staff have taken the opportunity to learn basic sign language
in the London office, and the firm benchmarked with the Royal National Institute for Deaf People with a
view to securing the Louder than Words Chartermark.
The firm has worked with a number of clients in the UK and in
Germany to run joint events and initiatives, including joint
women's network events and training sessions. For further
information, contact Emma Stallard in
Business Development or Deborah Dalgleish, the
firm's Diversity Manager.
Current initiatives in Australia
The firm hosted the inaugural "Gender Issues in the Legal
Profession Think Tank" in October 2011. The event was
attended by Chairs, Managing Partners, Staff Partners and People
Development professionals for all the large law firms and the
session was facilitated by Elizabeth Broderick, Australian Human
Rights Commission's Sex Discrimination Commissioner, an alumnus of
Ashurst recognises that diverse role models and good quality
mentoring both formal and informal, are key to career
success. There are active women's mentoring groups in Sydney,
Melbourne and Brisbane and developing groups in Canberra and
For further information contact Lauren Levin or Kerry Ford in the People