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A&O signs Race Fairness Commitment

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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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06 July 2020

Allen & Overy has announced it is a signatory to the Race Fairness Commitment (RFC) to adopt a range of measures aimed at combating the career obstacles faced by black and other ethnic minority lawyers. 

The RFC, which 16 leading law firms have signed, mandates a range of measures and steps to which all signatories have committed. This includes collecting quantitative data and monitoring employee lifecycles from recruitment to senior promotion, in order to identify and take action on the points at which black and ethnic minority people fall behind their white peers.  There are also measures to ensure that every junior ethnic minority member of staff has access to a senior manager, with a view where possible to creating sponsorship, mentoring and reverse mentoring programmes. Offer rates, retention rates, pay and promotions rates will be actively monitored and, where appropriate, published. 

Other measures include regularly taking employee sentiment and an explicit commitment to foster a workplace where black people can be themselves at work in the same way as white people, without feeling the need to be inauthentic.

Commenting on A&O’s commitment to the RFC, UK Diversity & Inclusion partner Ian Field said: “We have been clear on our commitment to take action to improve racial diversity, both at A&O and in the wider legal profession, and so we are proud to be a signatory to this important initiative. There are many synergies between the RFC and our existing work on race and ethnicity and this is another important step in our ambition to ensure that A&O is a place where our ethnic minority colleagues can have amazing careers.

Head of Diversity & Inclusion Jo Dooley adds: “At the heart of this issue is the need to recognise how the systemic inequalities that exist in society affect our experience at work and redouble our efforts to effect change in our business and wider networks. We all have a role to play in the evolution of the legal landscape and this initiative marks a coming together of strong voices in the industry to bring about meaningful change.

The RFC is an initiative undertaken under the advice of Rare, the diversity recruitment specialist that has been helping law firms and others recruit talented BAME candidates into tier one graduate jobs for 15 years. Raph Mokades, founder and managing director of Rare comments: “What seems possible in terms of racial justice has shifted this year, and the Race Fairness Commitment is about real change. It’s a brave step for the law firms to take, as well as a necessary one. It goes beyond merely not discriminating, and it goes beyond the usual diversity and inclusion activities you see at many organisations. For law firms, it’s about recognising a problem and hunting it down, and I’m impressed that so many have taken this major step.

Further details about the RFC and its associated measures can be viewed at: www.Racefairnesscommitment.com