Ethnic minorities in the legal sector: reality or utopia?
In an eminently globalised market, the recruitment of international lawyers is the order of the day. But when it comes to the recruitment of black and minority ethnic lawyers in the US and UK legal sector, the numbers are low. According to a study carried out by the consultancy Green Park, 8.8% of professionals on the boards of UK firms come from ethnic minority backgrounds.
This is why leading global law firms are becoming increasingly concerned with the recruitment of this social niche, whose attention has been growing in law firms.
Hogan Lovells promotes the INCLUDED programme, an innovative project within the British legal sector, which aims to detect, promote and reward the talent of lawyers from ethnic minorities. Through this programme, a series of courses are given to potential lawyers on identity and inclusive behaviour, as well as the creation of a personal brand and the strengthening of professional relationships.
The UK firm is committed to ensuring standards of diversity and inclusion in its offices, with lawyers from ethnic minority backgrounds not easily advancing through the organisation's employment hierarchy.
"We have been very open about the fact that a fundamental part of our strategy is to increase diversity throughout our firm, and at the most senior levels. Recruiting, retaining and promoting our under-represented talent is critical to ensuring diversity," says Crispin Rpinet, Hogan Lovells' training director.
Since last year, Hogan Lovells has set a target for 2025 of having 15% of all its partners from ethnic minority backgrounds.
In turn, this law firm has the collaboration of the Race & Ethnicity department's network of employees, whose primary task is to make the talent of lawyers from ethnic minorities visible and to raise awareness of this issue among the firm's senior professionals.
There are a multitude of social platforms being supported by law firms. Change the Race Ratio is one of them. Its founding members include EY, Deloitte, Linklaters, Microsoft, among other organisations. Hogan Lovells has also joined this project.
Projects like this have a clear mission: to reduce racial inequality in labour markets. Specifically, 'Change the Race Ratio' has four aims:
- Increasing racial and ethnic diversity on the governing boards of organisations.
- Increase racial and ethnic diversity in leadership positions.
- Ensure transparency in objectives and actions.
- Create an inclusive culture where talent from any diversity can succeed.