Linklaters affirms its commitment to anti-racism with Race Action Plan
George Floyd’s death in the United States sparked a global movement and exposed systemic inequalities that continue to be experienced by members of the Black community. When perspective shifts, action should follow. That action starts with listening, learning and reflection, and then moves to more concrete steps to drive change.
We have a lack of Black racial diversity in our firm and we are committed to doing better. Through our Race Action Plan, announced today, we are affirming our commitment to anti-racism and striving to use our position as a global firm to drive change. We aim to create an inclusive culture in which everyone – regardless of background, identity and circumstance – can reach their full potential.
Our key developments to date
In 2018, we launched a ‘Diverse Voices’ Reverse Mentoring scheme to provide senior leaders in our firm an opportunity to build their awareness and understanding of different people’s perspectives and experiences. We also established our INspire programme to support, retain and progress our minority ethnic talent.
Earlier this year, we joined the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, a coalition of over 200 law firms working collaboratively to dismantle structural and systemic racism. We continue to pledge our support to organisations advancing racial justice, including the NAACP, and we have named Juneteenth as an annual paid holiday for our U.S. offices, encouraging our people to use it as a day of service and engagement.
We pledge to improve representation of Black and underrepresented minority ethnic lawyers and business team members at all levels in our firm. Our 2020 Race Action Plan sets out how we plan to accomplish this throughout the career path, from school-age to leadership positions, and the concrete actions we will take, aligned to aspirational targets.
Our action plan
1.To create an inclusive culture, we will:
- Establish a Black Diversity Council to hold the firm to account for progress
- Train 100% of our people on anti-racism over the next 12 months and regularly thereafter
- Hold all Partners and Directors accountable for racial diversity in their practices and teams
2. To meaningfully improve opportunities, we will:
- Increase representation of Black and minority ethnic leaders on our senior leadership bodies
- Establish a new mentorship program for our Black colleagues with senior sponsors
3. To realise aspirations in the next generation, we will:
- Tie our people’s performance reviews and remuneration to contributions to social impact work
- Increase participation from Black students in our key programmes, including Making Links
4. To discover and develop Black professionals, we will:
- Establish a Diversity Scholarship to financially support Black and underrepresented minority ethnic law students (US)
- Double our funding to organisations that target career opportunities for Black professionals
5. To partner with purpose, we will:
- Double our annual pro bono hours spent on advancing racial equality and empowerment causes
- Expand our network of relationships with racial justice organisations
- Review our supply chain to enhance our spend with Black and minority-owned suppliers
Our aspirational targets
Recruit Diverse Talent
Starting from the 2020/21 recruitment cycle:
- 35% Minority ethnic trainees each year, of whom 10% will be Black (UK)
- 50% Minority ethnic first years each year, of whom 10% will be Black (US)
Retain Diverse Talent
Proportional retention of white, Black and underrepresented minority ethnic:
- Lawyers at all levels (UK & US)
- Business Team colleagues at all levels (UK & US)
Strengthen Partnership Diversity
- 15% Black and underrepresented minority ethnic partners in partnerships by 2025 (UK & US)
- 15% Underrepresented minority ethnic partners in new partner elections annually (UK & US)
- 5X as many Black partners globally by 2027
Charlie Jacobs, Senior Partner and Senior Champion for Race & Ethnicity at Linklaters, comments:
“As a firm, we pride ourselves on our values of respect, integrity and inclusion and we are calling on those values to stand against racism and champion equality. We must do better as a firm, industry and society to ensure greater representation of Black and minority ethnic groups at all levels of business. Reinforced by our Race Action Plan, we will create meaningful and long-term change within our firm and are committed to ensuring that we are home to and have an inclusive culture for everyone.”
Tom Shropshire, Partner and Global Head of U.S. Practice and Co-Sponsor of Linklaters’ UK BAME Network, states: "We are committed to being leaders for positive change, including across the global legal industry and within the communities where we live and serve. We see there is structural change needed, and we have an important role to play and must be agents for that change.”