Linklaters launches new development programme to support BAME talent

Linklaters is piloting a new development programme to support talented BAME staff in advancing their careers and to help the firm understand and overcome any barriers to progression. As part of Linklaters’ Diversity & Inclusion efforts, the programme is designed to help identify how differences can be harnessed to drive transformational inclusive culture change.

A significant step for the legal sector, the programme has been developed in conjunction with Dr Doyin Atewologun from Delta Alpha Psi, a leadership and diversity consultancy. Running for nine months, the programme will use behavioural sciences to increase engagement and empowerment through a series of workshops, coaching sessions and online resources.

A unique feature of this programme is that it brings together participants with their line managers and partners, enabling dialogue across demographic differences. It is also a chance for those in management positions to improve their race fluency, race confidence and race thinking, helping to support career development and drive culture change in the firm.

The syllabus offers participants the opportunity to challenge leadership practice, learn new techniques to achieve high quality feedback and identify a strategy for onward development.

Charlie Jacobs, senior partner at Linklaters and sponsor of the programme, said:

“We're taking an approach that is possibly unusual for our sector. Talking about race or ethnicity or personal backgrounds is something that a lot of people don’t find easy to do. But we’ve seen that opening up these conversations has given us a real insight. It’s allowed us to understand where we’ve come from, what drives us and how we do certain things could hold some people back.”
Of the kick-off event, he says: “The energy and enthusiasm for the kick-off event was outstanding. There may have been some nervousness at the start but I’m thrilled at the outcomes even after two days. It fills us with hope that through open discussion and feedback within this programme, we can collaborate to challenge any systemic barriers and ensure that our minority ethnic talent have all the tools and support they need to progress.”

Dr Doyin Atewologun, Chartered Business Psychologist, said: “We’re proud to partner with Linklaters to help develop how the firm engages with demographic difference for the benefit of the entire business. We‘re thrilled with the successful kick-off event which facilitated insightful conversations and interactive sessions that helped line managers, partners and senior business leaders further enhance their relationships. Our team looks forward to supporting tangible change at Linklaters - for both minority ethnic talent and senior leadership - throughout this pilot and beyond.”  

The programme will run until June 2019. 14 lawyers and 5 members of our business teams have been selected to take part from 5 offices.

Linklaters is committed to improving diversity at the firm and has been commended with various awards and recognition including being named a best employer for race 2018 by the Prince’s Responsible Business Network.