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A&O commits to new ethnicity targets and publishes its ethnicity Stay Gap

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Jo Dooley

UK Head of Diversity & Inclusion

London

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Field Ian
Ian Field

Partner

London

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Randall Elizabeth
Elizabeth Randall

Senior Media Relations Manager

London

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29 July 2020

Allen & Overy has today announced a raft of new targets for its London business aimed at achieving greater ethnic diversity at every level of the firm. 

The new targets are: 

  • 15% ethnic minority partners by 2025
  • 25% ethnic minority lawyers and support staff by 2025
  • 35% ethnic minority trainees, including 10% black trainees, each year 
  • Equalised retention rates for trainees lawyers, in particular retaining more black associates 

A&O is also the first major law firm to publish its ethnicity Stay Gap. This follows leading diversity recruitment consultants Rare Recruitment’s analysis of the sector which found that the average black, Asian and minority ethnic lawyer’s tenure at a law firm is around 18 months shorter than that of the average white lawyer.

A&O’s ethnicity Stay Gap analysis, carried out by Pirical, found that black, Asian and minority ethnic lawyers leave the firm seven months earlier than their white colleagues and that black lawyers leave two years and five months earlier than their white counterparts.  The firm has committed to publishing its updated ethnicity Stay Gap every year. 

The announcement follows a significant knowledge building exercise across the firm’s London business, including data analysis and focus groups.  The findings from this activity have informed the targets announced as well as a new strategy focused on recruitment, retention and culture  to support achieving them.  

We must all play our part in creating a truly inclusive workplace and for us that starts with accountability. The Stay Gap figure is an uncomfortable truth for us and the legal industry but it gives us an objective way to measure the success of our efforts in this area. We want to be clear that we recognise the problems within our own firm and are committed to tackling them head on.

A&O UK Diversity and Inclusion Partner Ian Field

Commenting on these announcements, A&O UK diversity and inclusion partner Ian Field comments: “We must all play our part in creating a truly inclusive workplace and for us that starts with accountability. The Stay Gap figure is an uncomfortable truth for us and the legal industry but it gives us an objective way to measure the success of our efforts in this area. We want to be clear that we recognise the problems within our own firm and are committed to tackling them head on.”

A&O head of diversity and inclusion Jo Dooley adds: “By being transparent we can more effectively address the diversity and inclusion issues we face, which is why we have made this announcement today. We have looked closely at our data to better identify the challenges that black, Asian and minority ethnic people at A&O face and see a clearer path to addressing the balance. The targets and Stay Gap provide us with effective measures for the progress we are working towards in the future.”

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