Magic circle firm Linklaters has pledged to do better on racial diversity – unveiling an action plan that includes partnership targets and pay rewards for social impact work.

Announcing a ‘race action plan’ yesterday, the firm acknowledged it lacked black racial diversity and ‘we are committed to doing better’. It said the death of George Floyd in the US sparked a global movement and exposed systemic inequalities that continue to be experienced by the black community. 'When perspective shifts, action should follow,' the firm said.

To strengthen partnership diversity, it has three ‘aspirational’ targets: 15% black and underrepresented minority ethnic partners by 2025; 15% underrepresented 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 minority ethnic - of whom 10% will be black.

Performance reviews and remuneration will be tied to contributions to social impact work. Annual pro bono hours spent on advancing racial equality and empowerment causes will double.

The firm wants to increase representation of black and minority ethnic people in senior leadership bodies and establish a mentorship programme for black colleagues with senior sponsors.

All staff will be trained on anti-racism over the next 12 months. Partners and directors will be accountable for racial diversity in their practices and teams. A Black Diversity Council will hold the firm to account for progress.

Charlie Jacobs, senior partner, said: ‘As a firm, we pride ourselves on our values of respect, integrity and inclusion and we are calling on those values to stand against racism and champion equality. We must do better as a firm, industry and society to ensure greater representation of black and minority ethnic groups at all levels of business. Reinforced by our Race Action Plan, we will create meaningful and long-term change within our firm and are committed to ensuring that we are home to and have an inclusive culture for everyone.’


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