Thirteen City firms have produced a handbook to help solicitors talk about racism in the workplace, including practical guidance about 'micro-aggressions' and how to respond to racist comments.

The ‘Noticed toolkit’, written by inter-firm diversity network Noticed, aims to make it easier to have ‘meaningful conversations about how to deal with race in the workplace’. It focuses on tackling micro-aggressions; how to be an ‘effective ally’; how to start difficult conversations; and how to respond to common racist statements and actions.

Colleagues talking in a group

The guidance advises firms about how to start conversations about race

Source: iStock

The guidance urges lawyers to be more alert to micro-aggressions, which are defined as common and everyday sayings which place undue focus on a characteristic of a person. It gives examples such as ‘I don’t see colour’ and abbreviating a person’s name without permission.

It also encourages firms to set up a hotline for employees to log their concerns and provide budgets to fund committees and initiatives.

President of the Law Society David Greene said: ‘We are pleased to contribute to Noticed’s toolkit and hope this provides a useful resource for firms. The events of 2020 and our recent research into the experiences of black, Asian and minority ethnic solicitors has shown that now more than ever it is important for firms and legal businesses to lead from the front and have frank conversations about how to create a more inclusive workforce.’

The current members of Noticed are: Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Baker & McKenzie, Eversheds Sutherland, Hebert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Mayer Brown, Ogletree Deakins, Squire Patton Boggs, Reed Smith, Simmons & Simmons and Stephenson Harwood.