Five City firms are working with recruitment agencies to ensure black and ethnic minority lawyers have the same opportunities as their white counterparts.

Ashurst, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills, Slaughter and May, and Travers Smith have partnered with 34 recruitment agencies to create the ‘Recruitment Agency Race Fairness Commitment’.

Under the agreement, agencies will ensure that their candidate pools at least match the UK's ethnic diversity and 'aspire to the local population if greater'; take the time to explore contextual backgrounds of black and ethnic minority candidates; and demand factual feedback on any ethnic minority candidates not hired.

Recruitment agencies will be asked to submit evidence of progress every year and the initiative will focus on experienced and senior candidates, as well as entry-level lawyers.

A host of City law firms including Norton Rose Fulbright, Linklaters and Dentons have already updated their ethnicity targets in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, as focus shifts from gender equality onto racial diversity.

Some 30 firms have also signed the Race Fairness Commitment, a data-driven approach to help recruit, retain and develop black and ethnic minority talent.