Herbert Smith Freehills has teamed up with Lloyds Banking Group's legal and secretariat division to launch a reverse mentoring programme with the aim of aligning individuals from different ethnic backgrounds and building greater understanding of cultural differences.
The partnership will initially pair 20 individuals across both organisations. Participants will be encouraged to share their backgrounds, together with the challenges and barriers they have faced in their professional and personal lives, enabling individuals to learn from each other about how to navigate potential career obstacles.
Mentors and mentees will be asked to meet at least six times in the first 12 months of the programme. To ensure mentors and mentees gain maximum benefit, the mentees will be encouraged to provide career advice, ensuring mentors can identify their best career path and most likely route to success. They will also provide professional and personal development support, helping mentors manage the integration of their job, career and personal goals.
Miriam Everett, partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, is sponsoring the programme. She says: "Creating a safe space where people can dare to dream and simultaneously lay the foundation stones that transform their dreams into reality is central to any mentoring programme. Learning from those at different levels of seniority is always helpful, but harnessing the perspectives of people from different backgrounds to your own or those working in another organisation is an invaluable opportunity which could build bridges that stand the test of time."
The new programme is part of Herbert Smith Freehills' commitment to build a supportive, respectful, environment where everyone can thrive. It represents the latest development of the firm's 10 Actions for Change - a framework designed to foster career opportunities and improve retention.
Part of the firm's commitment to improving ethnic diversity also involves engaging meaningfully with clients on anti-racism work. As a result, this programme has been developed in conjunction with Lloyds Banking Group's Legal and Secretariat Ethnicity Working Group.
Ajneet Jassey, General Counsel - Litigation and Contentious Regulatory, and sponsor of I&D workstreams in the Legal & Secretariat function at Lloyds Banking Group, says: “Lloyds Banking Group is an inclusive and values led organisation where we embrace our differences and seek out diverse perspectives; we are delighted to see our Ethnicity Working Group collaborating with HSF on this new and important initiative. I believe it will be mutually beneficial for all participants and help to build a greater shared understanding of the lived experience of colleagues from different backgrounds.”