City firms have set ambitious ethnicity targets in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, indicating a shift in focus from gender equality to racial diversity.
In a sweeping set of targets for its UK office, Norton Rose Fulbright said 25% of its headcount should be individuals from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) communities by 2025 (up from 19%), including 15% of partners (up from 8%). It also aims for a quarter of its trainees to be from BAME communities by 2025, and for 10% to be black.
In order to achieve its targets, the firm plans to introduce a reverse mentoring programme, ‘active bystander’ training, and three new career programmes for BAME employees.
Meanwhile, international firm Dentons has explicitly cited this year’s Black Lives Matter protests as a reason for setting a 20% partner diversity target for its UK, Ireland and Middle East partnership. Under an ‘Accelerating Race Strategy Action Plan’, a fifth of the firm’s partnership should be people from BAME or LGBT communities, or individuals with disabilities, by 2025.
Jeremy Cohen, UK, Ireland and Middle East chief executive, said: ‘This is a watershed moment and now is the time for dialogue, awareness and action from businesses and their leaders. We must tackle racial injustice if we are to become the most inclusive firm we aspire to be. This is a priority for our firm.’
Magic circle firm Linklaters has also pledged to do better on racial diversity, citing the death of George Floyd in the US and the subsequent exposure of systemic inequalities.
To strengthen partnership diversity, Linklaters has three ‘aspirational’ targets: 15% black and under-represented minority ethnic partners by 2025; 15% under-represented minority ethnic partners in new partner elections annually; and five times as many black partners globally by 2027.
Just over a third (35%) of its trainee recruits will be from minority ethnic backgrounds – of whom 10% will be black.
Linklaters has also created a ‘diversity faculty’ that will provide clients with a mixture of employment advice and business guidance around diversity and inclusion issues.