A City firm will set itself ‘improvement measures’ for hiring, retaining and promoting black and other ethnic minority lawyers as part of an action plan to champion racial equity.

Reed Smith announced today that it has established a Racial Equity Task Force, chaired by the firm’s global managing partner, Sandy Thomas, ‘in response to recent global events that have brought to the fore generations of systemic racial injustice against black people and other ethnic minorities’.

The task force will carry out the firm’s newly created racial equity action plan, which comprises three major strands to ‘reimagine’ business practices and habits: wellbeing and learning; pro bono and community engagement; and client engagement and collaboration.

Reed Smith said it wants to improve fairness and wellbeing for BAME staff, solicit ideas on how to uphold racial equity as a fundamental value of the firm and foster discussion about racism’s toll. ‘Additionally, the firm will set and achieve improvement measures in hiring, retention and promotion of black and other ethnic minority lawyers and staff,’ it said.

The firm has already teamed up with dozens of other international firms to form the Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance. The alliance, which was set up in June, currently has 258 members.

Reed Smith has also expanded its wellbeing support to address the stress, trauma and mental health challenges that result from racism, discrimination, implicit bias and stereotypes.

Thomas said: ‘Striving toward racial equity is critically important as we move our communities forward. As stewards of the law, it is our responsibility to ensure that the credo of “equal justice for all” is pursued and applied every day, to help provide a voice to all people.

‘Our commitment is inspired by people from across the firm and is led from the top. We are proud to declare who we are and what we stand for – and on an issue of such importance, we do so unequivocally. While we appreciate that there are limits to the contribution one law firm can make, we are determined to realise change wherever possible.’


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