Diversity enriches the quality and fabric of our firm
BCLP has a deep commitment to Diversity & Inclusion, supported by well-established goals, programs, campaigns and leadership engagement. We aim to create an environment where all our employees are valued, motivated and able to be themselves, whatever their differences might be. We place such a high priority on diversity and inclusiveness because we know that it enriches the quality and fabric of our firm: for our people, and our clients.
We organize an event annually in London for African-Caribbean students interested in a career in law. The event includes exclusive talks from successful African-Caribbean legal professionals, application advice and networking opportunities. This event won “Best Diversity Initiative” at the Lawyer Business Leadership awards. To find out more or to apply, please contact the Diversity and Inclusivity team.
DiversCity is a unique recruitment event and mentoring scheme aimed at raising awareness of pursuing a legal career in the City amongst LGBTQ* students and graduates. It was launched in 2011 and has helped over 300 students to build their network and apply to work in leading law firms. For more information and to apply, visit the DiversCity website.
In 2016, we launched AuthentiCity, bringing together some of the biggest organizations in U.K. business to provide LGBTQ* students with a taster of different professional careers, providing the opportunity to receive expert advice and network with senior business leaders. For more information and to apply, visit the AuthentiCity website.
The National LGBT Bar Association's annual Lavender Law Career Fair is designed to achieve a sense of community and inclusion for LGBTQ* candidates within the legal profession's recruiting efforts. BCLP are proud to sponsor and attend this annually.
We participate in a number of diversity clerkship programs, workshops and pipeline initiatives. The firm maintains ongoing relationships with local law student diversity organizations, including the Black Law Students Association, Asian Pacific Law Students Association, Hispanic Law Students Association and OUTLaw. To find out more or to apply, please contact the Diversity and Inclusivity team.
In-line with PRIME, an alliance of law firms and legal departments across the U.K. who have committed to broaden access to the legal profession, we run our Career Kick-Start Work Experience program which provides 25 two-week work experience places to year 12 students from less privileged backgrounds. Connecting with our clients, we collaborate across sectors to ensure the students receive a holistic insight into how the City works and the different legal careers available to them. To apply, visit our Careers Pages.
Our firm sponsors a diversity scholarship program for law students who have received and accepted an offer for a summer associate position after the second year of law school in one of our U.S. offices. To find out more or to apply, please contact the Diversity and Inclusivity team.
We run a coaching program open to female and ethnic minority junior partners. Participants are paired with an external coach to help them embark on a 6-to-12-month individual business development and leadership coaching program, personalized to their specific needs and objectives.
The Adelaide Group is a unique networking forum for women business leaders founded by the firm in 1997. It provides women in business with the opportunity to meet with their peers and exchange views and ideas. The Adelaide Group runs six events each year with prestigious speakers, including Cherie Booth, QC who is the Group's Honorary President.
To find out more, please contact Kate Binedell, BCLP Partner.
Real Estate Balance is an association started by a group of senior women from different organizations engaged in real estate, who are passionate about addressing the gender imbalance in the U.K. real estate sector. Real Estate Balance aims to harness the power of senior male and female executives across real estate to change the gender balance in the industry, especially at senior levels.
To find out more, please contact Claire Milton, BCLP Partner.
We run a sponsorship program for minority associates who are within three years of eligibility for partnership consideration. Associates are paired with partners, all of whom are senior leaders and rainmakers. The sponsors create opportunities for associates’ practice development, leadership development and business generation.
We are partners of the 30% Club Mentoring Scheme. This program provides high-performing, potential partnership track women with mentoring from an external senior business leader. The program has the ultimate goal of broadening the pipeline of female talent in attaining leadership positions in their respective organizations.
Our LGBTQ*, Women’s and Cultural and Ethnic Diversity affinity groups provide a platform for open dialogue and offer extensive programs to support individuals at the firm. We appreciate that this will mean different things to individuals in different locations, and so we adapt our approach depending on the office. The networks offer a variety of opportunities, including mentoring, skills training, and leadership and business development. The affinity groups meet regularly to discuss any potential challenges and opportunities for change – including a biennial Lawyers of Color Retreat and an annual LGBTQ* Lawyers Retreat.
The Disability Network is committed to supporting those with or effected by a disability at BCLP. The Network has hosted a number of events, including a panel event with speakers from across the firm who themselves have been impacted by disability, and an evening with Olympic gold-medallist James Cracknell OBE. We have also created an information hub for those with disabilities and those who are carers, line managers, and those who wish to be supportive to colleagues as allies.
We have an extensive Wellbeing program and provide all employees with support in relation to mental health. Examples of activity include: a Mental Health employee network; dedicated mental health first-aiders; on-site yoga sessions, and; free access to counsellors through an Employee Assistance Program.
We have hosted a series of talks relating to key family issues, such as; Coping with Cancer, Raising Resilient Children: Practical Tips for Managing Exam Stress; Coping with Bereavement; Managing The Party Scene for teenage children, and; The Practicalities of Eldercare. We also run an annual “Festive Family Afternoon” in December each year. This is a chance for employees to bring their children into the office and take part in Christmas activities.
We run informal lunches to provide our working parents with a network within the firm. Whether employees have an established family, young children or are planning a family, the lunches are an opportunity to get together and share experiences on the challenges that balancing work and family life can bring and how these have been successfully managed by colleagues.
We run a reverse mentoring program for our Board members, providing those early on in their careers with the opportunity to open up a dialogue with those most senior at the firm: sharing details of their experiences as a minority and providing insights and recommendations for steps the firm can take to become more inclusive. We are looking to expand this program to partners in 2019.
Whether it be family responsibilities, or hobbies outside of work, we understand that the flexibility to adopt different working patterns can have massive importance to wellbeing and productivity. This includes a range of options from alternative hours, part-time and occasional home working. We are committed to being open to talking about flexibility in any current vacancies – if you would like to discuss this with a member of the recruitment team, please get in touch.
We initiated a research project, supported by The Bridge Group and The Sutton Trust, aimed at providing insights into the experiences and views of those from lower socio economic backgrounds within the legal profession in the U.K.. The report, launched in September 2018, gives us a comprehensive picture of our position and will inform a measured action plan for the future.
This restricts all informal work experience requests, ensuring that all candidates are directed toward our formal programs. Obtaining work experience is key in pursuing a legal career, and in order for us to be an equal opportunities employer we are keen to ensure that all opportunities available at BCLP are provided on merit. For more information, please contact the Diversity and Inclusivity team.
Same-Sex Couples Equality
Our firm has played a dynamic role in litigation seeking to strike down legislation that discriminates against same-sex couples in connection with the right to marry. More than 30 lawyers and employees in many offices have been involved in this historic push. Together, they wrote 17 briefs urging the courts to consider the impact marriage restrictions have on the estimated 210,000 children being raised by same-sex parents in the U.S.. The “Voices of Children” brief was seen as a key component in two decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court that are victories for LGBTQ* rights. .
Global Child Abduction Work
Offices across the firm have regularly handled international child abduction cases under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Through our international child abduction work, our lawyers have helped children from numerous countries, including Mexico, Venezuela, Germany, New Zealand, England and Ireland. We are recognized by the State Department as a “preferred” law firm for handling these cases.
Immigration Initiative Aids Asylum-Seekers
BCLP has joined a coalition of some of the country’s largest law firms in an effort to assist asylum-seekers entering the United States and reunify families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. Nearly 60 attorneys have volunteered from BCLP U.S. offices.
Project Corazon is organized by Lawyers for Good Government, which has the stated mission to protect and strengthen democratic institutions, resist abuse of power and corruption, and defend the rights of all those who suffer in the absence of “good government.” The organization launched this call for volunteer attorneys specifically to help reunite children taken from their parents under recent immigration policies.
BCLP’s pro bono committee and firm management have approved participation in this initiative. The firm also has volunteered support for the planning committee to set the scope and parameters of the project, which officially began work helping affected families on 4 July 2018.
We as a firm want to recognize how the African-Caribbean community has shaped history to date, as well as shining a light on further progress that needs to be made. Hear from our colleagues Daniel Burnand (Associate) and Segun Osuntokun (London Office Managing Partner) on why marking Black History Month is important and the changes they have witnessed.
The firm in 2017 announced the creation of a diversity scholarship program that will award diversity scholarships to up to four second-year law students. Each scholarship recipient will receive $10,000 to help defray the cost of law school tuition and related expenses during the student’s final year of law school.
Eastside Young Leaders’ Academy (EYLA) is an exciting, dynamic charity who work with ‘at risk’ young people, predominately black boys, to raise their aspirations and ambition, help them to do better in school and prepare them for university and the world of work. They are based in East London with a sister academy in West London, running Saturday and after-school master classes and in-school workshops. We provide mentors to the students - raising aspirations for City careers and providing guidance to support their development and future goals.
Lawyers in our Atlanta office partnered with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to file a claim on behalf of the Georgia NAACP, challenging the elections which attempted to purge African-American voters from the rolls.
The president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee thanked our team for “its tremendous work and effort on this important case” and stated that “the firm has proven to be one of our most important partners in our work.”
This prestigious accolade was provided by the Corporate Counsel, who annually honour leading women in the law. Therese Pritchard and Lisa Mayhew were commended for their fully integrated approach to the merger, with a strong focus on culture underpinning our strategy.
For the 11th year in a row, we earned 100 percent on the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
We were ranked fourth in a City of London Corporation-backed ranking of the U.K.’s top employers for social mobility.
The Social Mobility Index 2018, created by the Social Mobility Foundation and Social Mobility Commission and sponsored by The City of London Corporation, evaluates employers’ engagement with disadvantaged people as well as their recruitment and selection processes in order to measure their social mobility performance.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has been named a Mansfield Certified Plus firm for 2018, as tracked and measured by Diversity Lab. The firm helped pilot the program in 2017 by pledging to follow the “Mansfield Rule” in ensuring a diverse mix when considering candidates for firm leadership and governance roles.
BCLP has been named one of the top 10 most LGBTQ* inclusive places to work in the UK for the third year running, ranking second in the 2019 Stonewall Workplace Equality Index (WEI). We have been listed as a Star Performer for our deep and longstanding commitment to cultivating an environment where everyone can truly be themselves.
The WEI assesses workplace culture and policies for LGBTQ* staff in over 400 organisations across a wide range of sectors. BCLP’s LGBTQ* Group has been listed as one of Stonewall’s Highly Commended Network Groups for the third year running, and the firm continues to be listed as a Top Trans Employer.
Co-Chairs Lisa Mayhew and Therese Pritchard were featured 23 April 2018 in the WILEF Tribune on the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) website. The two discussed the merger, which became official 3 April 2018, and its significance. This is the first time two women lead a global law firm. We have also been accredited with the gold standard from 2014-17. Click here to read the article and learn more.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has been named to the Yale Law Women's 2018 Top Ten Female and Family Friendly Firms Lists. BCLP also was recognized with a category-specific award for gender equity, with at least 50 percent of associates being women. Now in its 13th year, the Yale Law Women's Top Ten Family Friendly Firms Report is an annual benchmark of trends in family friendliness among law firms ranked in the Vault 100.
London Managing Partner Segun Osuntokun has been recognized in The EMpower 100 Ethnic Minority Executives List, presented by the Financial Times. Osuntokun is a member of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s Litigation & Corporate Risk Department and leads BCLP’s Africa Practice.
The list champions ethnic diversity in business and identifies the top 100 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) business leaders across the U.K., US, Europe, Ireland and Canada who have made a significant contribution to ethnic minority inclusion. This is the second successive year Osuntokun has made the list.
London Partner Daisy Reeves has been ranked in the top 100 LGBTQ* Executives in business. The OUTstanding lists, presented by the FT, celebrate those LGBTQ* executives and allies who are not only successful in their careers but are also creating supportive workplaces for other LGBTQ* people.