Corporate responsibility in the UK

Gowling WLG - anti-racism

The deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and their consequences have sparked an unprecedented global focus on the #BlackLivesMatter campaign and the experiences and social and organisational structures that have made such campaigns necessary. Sadly, these are the latest in a long chain of such events and we, along with all people around the world, need to learn and question how we - as individuals and as a global business - can help change the way society thinks and behaves about race.

One of our global values is: we all bring something different, so being an inclusive and diverse workplace is hugely important to us. We have over 1,500 legal professionals worldwide, who all bring different perspectives and experiences to the firm. It is important that we ensure that our people represent the communities in which we live and work and black talent is properly represented in our firm and the legal profession as a whole.

We have made a commitment to address this imbalance and have created local action plans for Canada and the UK. These plans take into account the geographic and demographic differences of each location and detail concrete steps that will be taken to see significant change.

UK - anti-racism action plan

In the UK we have focused on BAME inclusion for a number of years, but we know that we need to do more. With the input of our EmbRACE employee network, our people and leadership we have developed a clear action plan to help us increase the representation of BAME and particularly black talent at Gowling WLG. This action plan forms part of a wider range of work at the firm that strives to ensure that we are an inclusive employer.

Culture, transparency and values

  • We will monitor ethnicity data in terms of headcount, promotions, applications, recruitment, retention, pay and employee satisfaction.
  • We will operate an inclusion allies programme to ensure our people are aware of how they can be proactive allies.
  • We will host monthly events with our board sponsor for ethnicity to build awareness and encourage dialogue and understanding.
  • We will create a platform to educate our people about racism and racist behaviours and eradicate unconscious bias.
  • We will ensure that everyone joining Gowling WLG, and all of our people receive a clear message that we have a zero tolerance policy towards racism.

Recruitment

  • We will set clear targets for the recruitment of BAME candidates.
  • We will review our current processes for early years and experienced recruitment and implement recommended changes.

Talent management

  • We will ensure our BAME people have access to mentoring support.
  • We will provide sponsorship for our high potential BAME people.
  • We will review our current processes for development and promotions and implement recommended changes.
  • We will ask all leavers if they have experienced or seen racism in the firm and take action where appropriate.

Community outreach

  • We will expand our existing volunteering and pro bono work with charities and community groups to support BAME communities.
  • We will increase our charitable giving to BAME charities.
  • We will enhance our school outreach programme to provide role models and encourage the uptake of a career in the legal profession.

Client/market engagement

  • We will engage with clients and other law firms to share best practice and generate ideas for change.
  • We will engage with third parties to promote best practice and diversity.
  • We will consider the diversity of any events in which we participate.