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Internal Diversity Networks:

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Charles Ashie

Charles Ashie

Future Trainee
I chose Dechert because it was the firm that gave me that initial confidence that I could succeed in the legal profession regardless of my background. Attending an Aspiring Solicitors Open Day in 2017 and hearing from trainees, associates, partners and graduate recruitment not just about the firm's excellence in their respective practice areas, but of a culture in which diverse individuals can thrive, makes me proud to begin my training contract at the firm three years later. Dechert is an Affiliate Partner of Aspiring Solicitors and is a sponsor of the Aspiring Solicitors Commercial Awareness Competition. Each year, Dechert invites 70 AS Members to their offices across two open days, where they gain an insight into a global specialist law firm that takes great pride in its work and its people. The firm's results are impressive: 55% of the firm's future trainees, my colleagues, are AS Members, with the vast majority having come through the AS Commercial Awareness Competition Within the firm, the Dechert Inclusion & Diversity Committee provides a firm-wide partner-led network that hosts events, workshops and mentoring opportunities within a number of affinity groups. Future trainees are invited to take part in these opportunities, highlighting an inclusive culture from the very start.

Diversity at Dechert:

Global Women’s Initiative

Many organizations pay lip service to gender diversity, but lack the concrete action plan to really make a difference. Not wanting to fall foul of this, Dechert’s London Global Women’s Initiative (GWI) launched an ambitious program in 2018-2019 aiming to making a real impact and moving the needle on gender diversity in its London office.

The GWI was established in order to empower women to succeed by fostering an environment that provides opportunities for their development, advancement and leadership within the firm.

The London GWI has a committee with lawyers of all levels, as well as business services professionals from the HR, marketing and communications teams. The committee works on this initiative alongside the busy day-to-day client work required of a leading, global law firm.

The London GWI Committee has devised a specific training program for females at Dechert providing monthly training sessions. External consultants provide training on issues that women often face such as (i) overcoming perfectionism to accelerate their careers; (ii) understanding barriers to success; and (iii) how to take smart risks. The program also encourages female professionals at all levels to share their experiences and learn from one another. To this end, internal training is provided on (i) how to build confidence and get a seat at the table; (ii) how to build your brand; and (iii) how to take control of your career. For example, in November 2018, five Dechert female partners ran a session on “how to approach business development at all stages of your career” and in February 2019, two Dechert female partners and three associates delivered training on “how to build confidence, close the deal and get a seat at the table”. The session was also available by videoconference to all Dechert’s EMEA offices, ensuring maximum inclusivity.

In March 2019, Dechert’s London office hosted the firm’s 2019 Sponsorship and Sustained Support (SASS) program. More than 40 female lawyers on partnership track across Dechert’s global offices convened for a day designed to boost their progression and equip them for success. The program focuses on sponsorship and career development and helps female lawyers navigate the path to making partner. It provides targeted individual and small group support, which includes general information sessions; skill-level appropriate training; individualized attention from Dechert partners; access to consultants and advisors; and networking opportunities with other program participants and firm partners. Despite the achievements of the London GWI Committee so far, the committee recognizes there is still much work to be done. Going forward in 2019 and beyond, the group is working to put into action other areas of their strategy including working with HR to lobby to expand agile working and continue to support employees taking parental leave, raising awareness among employees and prospective joiners of the existing support available for women, and seeking to harness engagement from all employees, male and female, to continue to progress towards greater gender equality.

Jason Butwick

Partner and London Inclusion & Diversity Committee Member

Firm Quote On Diversity:

Diversity and inclusion are at the core of Dechert’s culture and business strategy. Our partnership with Aspiring Solicitors goes from strength to strength, with a total of 16 Aspiring Solicitors members having accepted a training contract with us over the past 3 years. Our prime objective is to maintain and promote an inclusive environment which cultivates and values different backgrounds and perspectives in order to better service our employees, clients and communities. We hope that our initiatives, both within the London office and globally, create equal and fair access to all aspects of firm life which reflects the diversity of the world in which we practice.

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