Inclusion

We understand the importance of an inclusive culture, the continued development of which has been identified as one of the key priorities for Macfarlanes.

Our focus is to foster diversity throughout the firm, from entry level to partnership.  It is about recruiting, retaining and promoting all groups in the firm fairly, and we have spent a lot of time reviewing our processes to ensure that everyone has the same chance to develop and advance.  An inclusive, forward-thinking culture also enables us to provide innovative solutions to our clients and we are working hard to develop a more inclusive and staff-responsive working environment.

Some of our current initiatives are:

Staff networks

Three staff-led networks were launched in May 2017 to provide opportunities for social interaction, peer support and personal development.  A variety of partners co-chair these networks:

Balance: a forum for all staff managing careers and home lives, enabling discussion, support and the exchange of information and ideas, to achieve a balance of opportunity for all

LGBT: a forum for networking and peer support, open to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, to inform staff on LGBT action and to communicate information to colleagues interested in LGBT matters

BAME: a forum for networking and peer support between ethnic minority staff and allies, which enables the sharing and exchange of relevant information and ideas

Gender imbalance in senior roles

We appreciate that greater transparency about paths into senior roles is important and this area is being improved as part of a new career progression and sponsorship programme.

We are particularly focused on improving the retention and development of our female talent in all areas of the firm.

We are members of the 30% Club's Professional Services Firms' initiative (the 30% Club was established with the aim of having 30% women on every FTSE-100 board). This initiative assesses the specific challenges for professional services firms and is devising new collaborative actions to accelerate progress across the profession. 

The firm is also an active member of a number of other external networks including Network for Knowledge, Women in Private Equity and IFLR Women in Business Law Group. 

Ethnicity

We partner with Rare Recruitment to attract training contract and vacation scheme applications from young people from black and ethnic minority (BAME) communities. We provide skills, networking and careers sessions for Rare Recruitment candidates.

Macfarlanes was one of the first signatories to Rare Recruitment’s Contextual Recruitment System which enables us to understand the context of a candidate’s experiences and qualifications. This is a helpful tool because it shows a candidate’s actual A-Level grades against the average for their school, as well as other social mobility factors, thereby helping to level the playing field between candidates from different backgrounds.

Internally, an initiative to increase awareness of different cultural and religious practices was a suggestion following the Diversity Committee’s survey of ethnic minority solicitors.  The firm now has a rolling programme of informative updates covering all the major cultural and religious events which is promoted firm wide.

Social Mobility

We have adapted our recruitment processes to ensure that we recruit the best candidates regardless of their background. In addition to the Rare Recruitment contextual recruitment tool, we were one of the first law firms to ensure that the vast majority of our assessment processes for both our vacation schemes and training contracts are scored CV blind. This means that part of a candidate’s assessment is based on their actual performance on the day, which we believe promotes greater fairness.  In 2016, the firm joined Aspiring Solicitors which better enables us to reach students from a variety of backgrounds across a broad spread of universities.

 

It is about recruiting, retaining and promoting all groups in the firm fairly, and we have spent a lot of time reviewing our processes to ensure that everyone has the same chance to develop and advance.
Louise Zekaria Head of Inclusion and CSR

Staff Mentoring

In addition to providing excellent on-the-job training, particularly through working on partner-led teams, we offer extensive legal education and training and professional skills programmes.

MacsMentor is the firm-wide mentoring scheme. Under the solicitor scheme, every solicitor is paired with a partner from the same practice area (or they can specify a partner of a specific gender, background or from outside their practice area).  It is a fantastic opportunity to receive regular advice and support from a designated partner. As well as a business services development programme, the firm has also implemented a new mentoring scheme for business services staff, secretaries and legal assistants to enable junior business services staff to access guidance from more experienced colleagues.

Work/life balance and parenting support

We run a successful working from home scheme which enables all full time solicitors to work from home one full day every fortnight without requiring partner approval.

Further to this, the firm is a cornerstone sponsor of Cityparents and all staff have access to a programme of seminars aimed at helping working parents. We also offer parental transition coaching to new mothers and fathers. 

Staff wellbeing

Macfarlanes is committed to the long-term physiological and psychological health and wellbeing of our staff. Our “Macswell” programme, designed to raise awareness of health and lifestyle issues affecting mental, physical and financial health and wellbeing, offers a variety of programmes for staff in need of assistance. Macswell also offers workshops on topics such as resilience, nutrition and parenting.

Further to this, an innovative, award-wining new service which we launched in 2016 is vdoc – enabling staff to attend a GP appointment via Skype from the office and often on the same day.

We also partner with a number of other important organisations. Click here to find out more.

Our diversity statistics

We collect diversity data about our employees and partners annually. Click here for our most recent statistics.

Our “Macswell” programme offers a variety of programmes for staff in need of assistance.