Freshfields launches new initiative designed to promote diversity in the barristers it instructsFreshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (‘Freshfields’) has launched a new initiative designed to promote diversity in the barristers that it recommends to clients and that it instructs. The firm has rolled out a London-based networking events programme for female barristers and for male and female lawyers from Freshfields. The speed-networking style events are designed to ensure that Freshfields lawyers develop connections with as broad a range of barristers as possible and to encourage chambers to present a more diverse bench.
Freshfields has been focused on driving diversity and inclusion for many years and this programme is the latest in a series of diversity initiatives launched by the Firm that support its priorities. These initiatives include the Every Day Gender Equality (‘EDGE’) commitment, which aims to empower people to take actions that will make a difference to gender equality, and the award-winning Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme. The Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme has been devised to address the disproportionate under-representation of black and black mixed-race men from less privileged backgrounds in large commercial law firms and the City of London more broadly.
Freshfields has also been recognised for its work on the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge (‘The Pledge’), which is co-chaired by dispute resolution partner Sylvia Noury. The Pledge seeks to increase, on an equal opportunity basis, the number of women appointed as arbitrators in order to achieve a fair representation as soon as practically possible, with the ultimate goal of full parity.
Commenting on the launch of this new initiative, Freshfields disputes partner Craig Montgomery, said:
“It’s really important that we’re thoughtful about the diversity of the people we instruct as well as the diversity of our own teams. While diversity is not just limited to gender, we hope that this initiative will encourage teams to always include female barristers when recommending counsel options to a client.”
Claire Wills, London managing partner at Freshfields, added:
“Promoting diversity and inclusion across our business and across the wider legal profession is an absolute priority for us. While we still have more to do in this space, I am proud of the initiatives, programmes and efforts that we have underway and of commitment that there is across our teams to building a culture of inclusion.”
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