INCLUSION PRIORITY AREA
Race and ethnicity
Our race and ethnicity agenda remains a key focus for us. We have made progress since the last report but there’s still much work to do to ensure the legal sector is more representative of society and the communities around us.
Head of Responsible Business and Co-chair of the Inclusion Board
Launched in 2020, our race and ethnicity strategy focuses on three pillars:
Recruiting more diverse talent
We proactively encourage more people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups to enter the legal profession and join Taylor Wessing.
We’ll stand up to racism and inequality at every opportunity.
Improving the experience
It’s vital all our people can develop, thrive and succeed regardless of their race, ethnicity or heritage.
Engaging our clients and community
We recognise the importance that the wider community and clients play in amplifying, promoting and celebrating the voices of Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups by collaborating with a range of charities and organisations.
We collaborate with clients on events to help raise awareness and improve representation in our respective sectors.
The authentic commitment to inclusion from leaders and people across the firm really stands out when working with Taylor Wessing. We listen to helpful feedback and remain open to new ways of approaching things so we can really move forward with our race and ethnicity strategy on a practical level. I have also experienced first-hand how colleagues are active allies when contributing to inclusive team cultures so everyone feels they belong here.
Inclusion Consultant and Co-chair of Cultural Diversity network
Joining the NOTICED network
We've been encouraging our people to familiarise and adopt the guidance contained in the NOTICED Toolkit. We have now joined the NOTICED network, the UK’s first inter-firm diversity network that aims to promote diversity and inclusion in the legal industry. This is an opportunity to collaborate with other firms to encourage more diversity in the legal sector.
We're pleased to be joining the NOTICED network as defeating systemic racism and inequality is our priority as a firm. The legal sector needs to do more, so we’re committed to progressing our race and ethnicity strategy such as recruiting more diverse talent, improving the experience for our people and engaging with our clients and communities. We’re looking forward to supporting the network and making connections with others who are equally passionate about positive change.
Partner and Co-chair of Cultural Diversity network
Our race and ethnicity strategy at the 2022 UK partner conference
At our first in-person UK partner conference since the start of the pandemic, partners and directors heard from Sunita Harley, our Inclusion Consultant, who shared practical examples of senior allyship when supporting the progress of our race and ethnicity strategy.
It was important that we spoke about what our race and ethnicity strategy means to our leaders, the challenges as well as our progress, so we continue to identify valuable and supportive actions to make a difference as allies, as partners and directors.
Partner and Executive Board Member, Taylor Wessing
Black Aspiring Solicitors Mentoring Scheme
To provide opportunities for students from underrepresented groups, we partner with Aspiring Solicitors. One of our collaborations last year was the Black Aspiring Solicitors Mentoring Scheme, which enabled us to provide targeted and effective support to underrepresented student groups in their legal career aspirations.
Our people were paired with aspiring solicitors to take part in mentoring sessions from September to November, helping them develop commercial confidence within the legal space. Alongside the individual mentoring sessions, we also provided a series of employability workshops to develop student skills.
Having signed up to the 10,000 Black Interns programme in December 2020, we spent 2021 developing the programme in collaboration with other law firm members of the foundation. We appointed four individuals who joined earlier this year. We look forward to continuing our partnership with The 10,000 Black Interns Foundation.
During my time at Taylor Wessing I have been fortunate to gain invaluable experience within the firm's Disputes and Investigations team. It has been a huge privilege to contribute to such important and challenging work during my time at the firm. I have thoroughly enjoyed assisting the team with tasks including reviewing witness statements, attending meetings, and assisting in the litigation process of cases. I have also attended several intriguing events including practice area focus sessions, training sessions and networking events.
Robert Brault once wrote: "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things". The little things like "I can show you how it's done", "do you need help with anything", and "my office is always open if you need anything" are all things that have been said to me when working at Taylor Wessing as a Paralegal Intern. For many people these are just little things, but for me, these words mean so much and thus made my time at the firm an enjoyable one.
Two highlights of my internship were the summer party and the Windrush celebration lunch. At the lunch we met and spoke with several lawyers from the partner firms, we discussed their experiences, what this project meant to them and why it is so crucial. The summer party was another lovely event. It gave many of us the chance to get to know our colleagues a little better, speak candidly and I came away with some great pointers and career advice. The lessons and skills acquired during my time at the firm have been invaluable and will stay with me.
There is a real sense of comradery, and everyone is approachable. The culture of the firm was a major contributor to my growth and development, I felt comfortable taking on challenges and tasks outside of my comfort zone as I knew that there was an effective support system in place which I could rely on. For an intern, this is incredibly important as you want to be exposed to as much as possible, which is why I would certainly recommend the internship to others.
Celebrating cultural differences
In January 2022 we commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day with a virtual event where Holocaust survivor Mala Tribich MBE joined us to share her personal story of courage, determination and hope.
This year we also commemorated South Asian Heritage Month by partnering with the NOTICED network to host an in-person event where British Army officer and physiotherapist Preet Chandi MBE, the first woman of colour to complete an expedition to the South Pole, joined us to discuss her career.
Connecting through cultural diversity mentoring
We launched our cultural diversity reverse mentoring programme in 2021. Connecting colleagues from different cultural backgrounds, the programme pairs mentors from a minoritised community and mentees who are senior colleagues, generally of white heritage.
Sharing experiences linked to cultural heritage, background, or what people are most proud of when it comes to their identity helps to build collegiate connections, raise awareness of cultural differences, and promote allyship.
Given the overwhelming positive feedback we have committed to run the programme again this year.
I thoroughly enjoyed the cultural diversity mentoring programme, and it was a great opportunity to discuss important themes and topics with senior individuals at the firm. It was great to strengthen my internal network and have that space to share my experiences. The programme was extremely well structured and I would be more than happy to be involved in something like this again.
Mentor and Trainee Solicitor
I couldn’t speak more highly of the cultural diversity mentoring programme. What an invaluable experience to have had the chance to participate in – an emotional yet positive journey and such an opportunity to learn from my mentor in a transparent and safe environment. I'd encourage all to consider participating!
Mentee and Head of Talent Acquisition Strategy
I had two mentees – one was a senior leader and the other was a senior associate and it was a fascinating and much welcomed opportunity to hear two different perspectives on their backgrounds and perceptions and for me to be able to share some of my experiences and challenges as a South Asian woman both in my work history and personally. These are conversations that rarely come up yet they are so important in being able to understand each other and how we can better make the workplace a more inclusive environment for everyone – which is why facilitating them in the way the programme does is so helpful. Apart from that I really enjoyed being able to connect and learn more about other colleagues who I may never have spoken to in any length otherwise and it was a very worthwhile experience all round.
Mentor and Senior Professional Support Lawyer