Inclusion & Diversity at Baker McKenzie

posted on 19 Apr

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What’s the difference between a good law firm and an outstanding law firm?  Its people.  As a truly global law firm, we pride ourselves on the excellence and the diversity of our people; diversity through their perspectives, backgrounds, cultures, experience.  To be successful; to give our clients the best possible service means we need to draw on the rich melting pot of talent our diverse workforce has to offer.

“Because Baker McKenzie has such a diverse mix of people from different backgrounds and cultures, we can draw on that range of experiences, knowledge and outlooks to provide clients with innovative, creative legal advice.” – Frances Okosi, Banking Partner.

 

Our vision

To us it’s not just about the business. It’s also about doing the right thing. We have built and strengthened our relationships with some pioneering organisations including the 30% Club and the Social Mobility Foundation and get involved in important initiatives, such as the Black British Business Awards.

 

The Black British Business Awards

Our vision is for a world where senior leaders across businesses celebrate and recognise new talent wherever it emerges.  We were proud to become a sponsor of the inaugural Black British Business Awards in 2014, and as ongoing sponsors, we support their aim to showcase the very best talent of African and Caribbean heritage.

“The Black British Business Awards would like to thank Baker McKenzie for its investment and active involvement in the creation of what has become a powerful showcase and celebration of exceptional rising stars and senior leaders of African and Caribbean heritage in corporations across Britain.” – Sophie Chandauka, Co-Founder, The Black British Business Awards

 

Contextual recruitment

Breaking down the barriers to entry to the profession is extremely important to us. That’s why we work with the Social Mobility Foundation, which aims to help young people from low-income backgrounds have equal education and work opportunities. In fact, we were one of the first professional services firms to recognise the importance of their work.

“Baker McKenzie was one of the first firms to begin work in the area of social mobility, long before it became the hot topic it has become in recent years. They’re now at the forefront of efforts by professional service firms to challenge themselves and others to ensure those from less privileged backgrounds can compete on a level playing field.” – David Johnson, CEO, The Social Mobility Foundation

Our commitment to equal opportunities is also why we introduced Rare's Contextual Recruitment technology in to our graduate recruitment system. This enables us to give more nuanced consideration to applicants from a broad range of backgrounds – by judging their achievements within context. We were one of the first two firms in any industry to commit to this new, fair system of recruiting.

 

A busy, and diverse, year

Throughout the year we've held events that celebrate diversity and encourage discussion about the challenges businesses face. We have worked with Women in Law London (WILL) and Shami Chakrabarti to engage with the next generation of female lawyers, complemented by the events held by our BakerWomen internal networking group. We also hosted a series of events to celebrate cultural diversity including a Chinese New Year celebration, and we were proud to join the London Gay Men’s Chorus at their Summer performance. Our support for LGBT colleagues has been recognised by the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index in which we ranked 11th this year. We were also named one of Stonewall's Global Champions for the first time and Senior Diversity Manager Justine Thompson was recognised as Stonewall's Ally of the Year.

We have been extremely proud to partner with Aspiring Solicitors, who aim to increase diversity in the legal profession.  We have developed bespoke sessions for Aspiring Solicitors students focusing on confidence, impact and networking receiving excellent feedback from participants.  A number of our lawyers are Aspiring Solicitors Professional Ambassadors and Inclusion & Diversity Manager Justine Thompson is a member of Aspiring Solicitors' Advisory Board.

We believe that by celebrating our differences, we’re able to gain a stronger appreciation of our common goals.