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Herbert Smith Freehills is celebrating its vibrant and inclusive global culture with its third annual Global Diversity and Inclusion Week commencing today. The week raises awareness of diversity and inclusion through a range of events across the firm’s global network.

The theme for this year’s program is ‘Inclusive Leadership’, highlighting the important role leaders have to play in developing the firm’s culture.

The firm supports all aspects of diversity and inclusion, and has a number of active global networks to promote and support its initiatives. This proactive approach to inclusion ensures the firm has a bias-free recruitment process as well as policies that encourage flexible working and meet accessibility needs.

Mark Rigotti, CEO and Chair of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Group, explained why being an inclusive leader is so important to him. “Ensuring we have a diverse and inclusive workplace is a key priority for me, and I am proud to champion our initiatives in this space. We know that a diverse and inclusive workplace is more engaged and encourages innovation by harnessing the strength of different ways of thinking and working. Our diversity is a key element of our success and I’m delighted we are able to celebrate and showcase our culture with our colleagues and clients around the world this week.”

The firm has also been recognised as a leader for its inclusion initiatives. It has been ranked as a leading employer for LGBT staff for nine consecutive years in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers list. This leading position is also demonstrated in other global markets, with sponsorship of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival, Brisbane Melt Festival, Pride WA and as the first corporate law firm to sign the Charter of LGBT Commitment sponsored by L’Autre Cercle. In addition, the firm has been recognised as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency and is named in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2017.

The firm has also been awarded longstanding client Morgan Stanley’s first ever Asia Pacific Outside Counsel Diversity Award – continuing acknowledgment that the benefits of diversity extend to, and are recognised by, the firm’s clients.

Mark went on to comment, “The theme of inclusive leadership also highlights how important it is that our firm is a leader amongst our profession. We know from speaking to our clients that they want to work with diverse teams of legal and business services professionals. Our clients continue to push us to strive and improve, and we are committed to providing them teams that reflect the diversity within their own organisations and that bring different perspectives and experiences to solve problems in innovative and fresh ways.”

Some of the events to celebrate Global Diversity and Inclusion Week include:

  • Sydney – a debate about how diversity will affect workplaces of the future, co-sponsored by the firm’s IRIS and Women’s networks
  • London – World Mental Health Day event (October 10) with Jeremy Thomas
  • Brisbane – a networking event with leading female barristers to promote gender equitable briefing in the profession
  • Hong Kong – IRIS Network event with guest speakers Theresa Goh and Nat Cook
  • Singapore – a series of expert discussions focussing on health & wellness
  • Melbourne – a panel event discussing diversity in the legal profession hosted by the Asian Australian Lawyers Association and the Women Barristers Association
  • Perth – a breakfast seminar with Australian Human Rights Commission Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins

Note for editors:

For more from Mark Rigotti on the firm’s diversity agenda, and why he has taken up the mantle of becoming a diversity champion, you can read his latest blog here.