Linklaters Race Action Plan

Our Race Action Plan: one year on

George Floyd’s death in the United States sparked a global movement and brought renewed focus to the 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 and a sustained focus on accountability.

We have a lack of Black racial diversity in our firm and are committed to doing better. We aim to create an inclusive culture in which everyone – regardless of background, identity and circumstance – can reach their full potential.

Our commitment

A year ago, we pledged 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 set out how we planned to accomplish this and the concrete actions we wanted to take, aligned to aspirational targets.

Linklaters’ Race Action Plan: One Year On – where are we and what’s next?

Read our full report here.

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Hear our Senior Partner, Aedamar Comiskey's message to our firm

 

 

Year 1: Progress against targets

Recruit Diverse Talent

  • 35% underrepresented minority ethnic trainees (UK)
  • 10% of all trainees will be Black (UK)

Targets met 

  • 50% underrepresented minority ethnic first years (US)
  • 10% of all first years will be Black (US)

Targets met

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)

Target not met

 

Strengthen Partnership Diversity

  • 15% underrepresented minority ethnic partners in new partner elections annually (UK & US)

    Target met
  • 15% Black and underrepresented minority ethnic partners in partnership by 2025 (UK & US)

    In progress
  • 5 x as many Black partners globally by 2027

    In progress

Paul Lewis

Paul Lewis, Firmwide Managing Partner

“While we are pleased to have met and exceeded our annual targets for recruitment and partnership elections, our numbers tell us that we need to do more to support the retention of Black and minority ethnic talent. This will be our focus in Year 2 of our Race Action Plan.”

Key actions to date

1

To realise aspirations in the next generation, we have:

  • Launched Making Links Discovery to encourage more students from minority ethnic and social mobility backgrounds to consider a career in law.
  • Expanded our virtual internship to give work experience to students in UK, US, Asia and 16 to 18 year olds.
2

To discover and develop Black professionals, we have:

  • Launched Get Ahead to give Black and under-represented minority ethnic students the skills and tools they need to succeed in their London Vacation Scheme and Training Contract applications.
  • Launched Making Links US Diversity Fellowship for high performing second-year (2L) law students from under-represented groups.
3

To create an inclusive culture, we have:

  • Created the Linklaters Black Diversity Council to ensure that issues and perspectives are raised up to executive level, and that the firm’s decisions are considered through the lens of race, with a specific focus on Black identity.
  • Rolled out mandatory anti-racism training to give everyone the tools to disrupt or intervene when they see racial stereotyping or microaggressions in the workplace.
4

To meaningfully improve opportunities, we have:

  • Launched a formal sponsorship programme for Black colleagues to address the affinity bias that disproportionately affects racial minorities.
  • Put in place measures to ensure that Black and minority ethnic trainees receive the same helpful developmental feedback, access to opportunities and fair performance assessments as their white peers.
5

To partner with purpose, we have:

  • Enabled lawyers to become Legal Observers® to act as a deterrent to unconstitutional behaviour by law enforcement during peaceful demonstrations in the US.

Watch future Trainee, Nadine Owusu-Ansah discuss Linklaters’ Get Ahead scheme

Watch US Associate, Ellen Gong, discuss her work with the ACLU to challenge racist policing

 

x COP26 and beyond