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Our 10 actions for change on ethnic diversity

04 September 2020 | Global
Firm news

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Herbert Smith Freehills is taking action to improve ethnic diversity across the firm.

In the wake of the tragic killing of George Floyd, the firm’s leadership began a deeper conversation with its people about improving ethnic diversity across the firm – and how it could work harder to build a supportive, respectful environment where everyone could thrive.

Despite working for some time to further diversify the make-up of the firm, those conversations made it clear that more had to be done.

The firm has unveiled 10 Actions for Change – a framework and measure of accountability for every region in its global network to address meaningful change appropriate for its people and its communities.

“Like others in the legal industry, we are not where we want to be, or where we should be, in our ethnic representation or our progress in dismantling systemic racism," said Herbert Smith Freehills CEO Justin D'Agostino. "The tragic killing of George Floyd in May spurred us to redouble our existing work."

"Since then, we have been consulting across the firm about how we can actively become an anti-racist organisation, committed to confronting the deep-seated inequities from which no society or business is exempt."

"The firm's leadership team and I are committed to supporting our Black, First Nations, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues and building our understanding to create a safe, supportive and respectful environment across the firm.”

Herbert Smith Freehills’ Regional Executives are responsible for ensuring these new commitments are acted upon across the firm’s 27 offices. Each Action is backed by a plan and interpreted locally and regionally to reflect local challenges, cultures and legal nuances.

“It is a priority for the firm to ensure that there are more conversations about race to create a safe, supportive and respectful environment where everyone feels seen and valued,” said Danielle Kelly, Herbert Smith Freehills’ Head of Diversity & Inclusion.

“While we have work to do, these 10 Actions are backed by initiatives and rigorous data collection. They’re designed to ensure we educate our firm as well as attract, develop and retain talent from Black, First Nations, Asian and minority ethnic people across all groups, teams and roles."

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