Celebrating diversity, embracing inclusion
17 November 2020
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are important to A&O’s strategy and are increasingly becoming embedded in our culture. Thanks in part to programmes and groups set up to address key issues and challenges, we are making progress. And while the rewards are welcome, the real and lasting wins come from the strength D&I gives us.
Networks to connect our people, alumni and clients
As a global employer, we must provide a strong message that A&O is a safe and supportive place for our LGBTQ+ community. We’ve worked hard to increase the international reach of A&Out and now have more than 100 A&O and alumni members around the world, as well as 700 allies who play a key role in creating an inclusive work environment.
Race and ethnicity
We have active networks and affinity groups in the UK and U.S., open to alumni, which hold high-profile events and promote the visibility of role models and mentors. Lots of activities also take place across other offices, for example around the Black Economic Empowerment agenda in South Africa and through our ethnicity working group in Amsterdam. We publish regular interviews – ‘conversations about race’ – with colleagues, as we know that dialogue promotes openness and understanding around these issues.
We have large women’s networks in many of our major offices which host events and debates and provide networks of sponsors and mentors globally. All our offices and practice groups now monitor our pipeline of female talent and report twice a year on progress. We have also developed an Emerging Female Leaders programme that identifies high-potential women who are sponsored to take leadership positions and be active role models within A&O.
Listening and challenging ourselves
Many partners globally take part in our reverse mentoring programme in which women, ethnic minority and LGBTQ+ colleagues are among those mentoring more senior people to provide an insight into their experiences at A&O.
We have a long-running programme of unconscious bias training for partners and senior support professionals, and further training to ensure partners can provide effective sponsorship to everyone.
We conduct regular listening exercises with specific groups and use our networks and development programmes as channels to understand people’s views and experiences.
A&O’s Social Mobility Working Group brings together the D&I, graduate recruitment and pro bono and community investment teams – plus others with a personal interest in the subject – to join up the firm’s thinking, generate ideas and track progress
Accountability and openness
We currently have 30% of leadership positions filled by women: our Board is 33% women; Executive Committee 30%; Risk Committee 50%; and People and Performance Board 42%.
We aim to see women making up at least 30% of the candidates considered for partnership each year. To achieve this, partners monitor and report on pipelines of talent, as well as the career development, sponsorship and mentoring being provided.
Alongside this, lateral hires, recruitment shortlists and succession plans are supporting our goal of reaching 30% women partners globally.
We also ensure effective mentoring and sponsorship are in place so that we can increase representation at senior levels. It’s important to understand the points in our processes that may act as barriers to attraction, retention and progression so we can address them.
- Euromoney LMG Asia Women in Business Law Awards 2019 - Best International Firm in Asia for Women in Business Law
- Investing in Ethnicity Awards - A&O listed in the Top 100 Outstanding Employers category
- Stonewall Top Global Employer - Third year in a row
- Stonewall Global Ally Programme Award for A&Out
- Times Top 50 Employer for Women
- Women in Business Law - Best International Firm
- Women in Law Awards - Gender Diversity Project of the Year
- Yale Law Women Top Firms for Gender Equity and Family Friendliness Report - LGBTQ+ representation
- Yale Law Women Top Firms for Gender Equity and Family Friendliness Report - Top Firm for Hiring Practices