Clifford Chance is a diverse employer striving for employees to feel comfortable and at their prime in their working environment. Diversity is at the core of Clifford Chance’s working practice and here Stuart, co-chair of the Clifford Chance LGBT network, shares his experience.
Clifford Chance has been named one of the top LGBT UK employers in the 2016 Stonewall Workplace Equality Index (WEI), ranking 9th out of 415.
The Stonewall WEI is the leading UK diversity benchmark. It looks at how inclusive organisations are with respect to Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) diversity by scoring them on a range of criteria including client engagement, policy and practice, employee engagement and LGBT community engagement.
Diversity is important to us. It brings fresh perspectives and helps us serve our clients better. That’s why we are committed to creating a diverse workforce and making Clifford Chance a place where everyone feels included. Here are just some of the things we’re doing to make that happen.
Promoting ethnic diversity
Through our partnership with Rare Recruitment and various programmes, we are attracting more ethnically diverse applicants. We’re making good progress too. The number of BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) candidates we hire continues to add to the diverse culture of the firm.
We're also proud of the Firm's network for black, Asian and ethnic minority ("BAME") colleagues and their friends which encourages an inclusive and integrated environment for BAME employees within Clifford Chance. The network provides a platform to inspire, support and encourage BAME employees, whilst also raising awareness and debate about issues specifically facing the BAME community amongst both BAME and non-BAME employees.
Improving gender balance
We have set a target for 30% of partners in Clifford Chance to be women. Since setting that target in 2009, we have made progress, but we have more to do. The 30% target is driving important changes in areas such as career development, mentoring and training.
Committed to sexual orientation and gender identity equality
Clifford Chance was the first law firm to partner with National Student Pride in 2012 and we have continued to strengthen this relationship over the years. We have a vibrant network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees and allies, known as Arcus, with branches in London, Germany, Italy, France and Holland as well as the Americas and Asia Pacific. It has dedicated almost 300 pro bono hours to LGBT issues worldwide – and raised thousands of pounds for charity. We are Stonewall Diversity Champions and Stonewall recently recognised Arcus as a 'Highly Commended' network. We are also founding partners of the LGBT Leaders Conference.
Positive about disability
We are proud sponsors of Open, an organisation which works with employers to raise awareness of the issues around disability. We also have a long-standing relationship with Blind in Business. We are happy to make reasonable adjustments, and both our Graduate Recruitment and Development Teams are on hand to guide applicants and trainees through this process in a tailored and sensitive manner.
At Clifford Chance we believe in providing opportunities for people based on merit, regardless of background, and we continuously strive to ensure that there are no barriers to equality of opportunity. With a strong record on diversity, we believe that social background should neither be a barrier to law nor a successful career at Clifford Chance. In order to address this we have made a number of changes to the way we recruit trainees including the introduction of CV blind interviews and broader capture of socioeconomic background information. We work with expert third party organizations to make real progress on widening access to the profession and have a means tested, flexible approach to the financial assistance we provide so that no candidate feels the need to self-select out of embarking on a career at Clifford Chance on the basis of financial means.
Diversity is important to Clifford Chance. A diverse workforce isn’t just fairer; it brings in fresh new perspectives and helps us serve our clients better. So every day, we’re striving to make Clifford Chance a place where everyone feels included, regardless of race, ethnic background, gender or sexual orientation.