A dozen more City outfits have pledged to improve racial diversity among their senior lawyers, as data suggests that solicitors of minority ethnic background leave firms earlier than their white colleagues.

Baker McKenzie, Bird & Bird, Burges Salmon, BWB, Clyde & Co, Dechert, Fieldfisher, Gowling, Mishcon de Reya, Stephenson Harwood, Taylor Wessing, and Withers are the latest firms to sign the Race Fairness Commitment, in partnership with diversity recruitment specialist Rare.

Some 29 City practices have now signed the commitment, which aims to use data to find out where black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) lawyers are falling behind their white peer group.

Firms have promised to monitor interview and offer rates, retention rates, and pay and promotion rates among their ethnic minority staff. They will also ensure that race and racism are talked about in every induction and exit interview. In some cases, this data will be published. 

In July, magic circle firm Allen & Overy set a host of new diversity targets after finding that black lawyers leave the firm almost two and a half years earlier than their white counterparts.

Managing director of Rare Recruitment Raphael Mokades said many black solicitors are leaving private practice in favour of in-house work because of issues around race.

'Some people switch firms, but if people were just switching firms you wouldn’t have so few ethnic minority partners and so many ethnic minority trainees. It’s obvious there is a drain in the profession,' he said.