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Diversity at Reed Smith:
At Reed Smith, we are committed to showing that jobs for candidates with disabilities are both available and achievable at the top of the legal profession.
We launched our internal network, LEADRS (Looking for Excellence and Advancement of persons with Disabilities at Reed Smith) in 2012, with a real focus on widening our efforts to not only recruit individuals with disabilities, but also to provide an inclusive working environment. Our LEADRS committee ensure that we work closely with our management team as well as all areas within the business, such as IT, Facilities and HR, to make sure these efforts result in tangible outcomes.
Additionally, we understand that every individual, regardless of disability, works in different ways and requires different support to enable them to work effectively. Whether someone has a short term/long-term health condition or has a disability, we aim to provide tailored support and collaborate with the individual to find the best way of working. Examples of support and adjustments we have made are outlined below:
- Software/hardware including: Dragon, Read & Write
- Support workers
- Flexibility on work hours / working from home
- Changes to the physical workplace / building to become more wheelchair friendly
- Supervisor training on disability in the workplace
Employees in the closet are 70% more likely to leave a company within three years. 62% of Generation Y LGBT graduates at university go back in the closet when they start their first job. Reed Smith’s LGBT+ network, PRISM (Pride, Respect and Inclusion Simply Matter), is a visible champion for inclusion, diversity and LGBT+ engagement.
PRISM acts as a forum for socialising, mentoring and networking within our firm, and the wider LGBT+ community. We are a Stonewall Diversity Champion, and we are working closely with Stonewall to promote LGBT+ inclusion across the legal industry.
In 2016, Reed Smith entered the Stonewall Work Equality Index ranking in the Top 100. In 2018, Reed Smith received the ‘Commendation for Diversity’ Award by LawCareers.Net. This year, our focus will be on trans- and bi-inclusion. As such, we envisage hosting panel discussions, training sessions and cross-collaborative meetings together with Reed Smith’s Multicultural Network (MCN) and the Disabilities Network (LEADRS).
We are hoping to have our first event in conjunction with the London Bisexual Network in late April/early May. The group has also provided pro-bono assistance to a number of LGBT+ charities in the past. Reed Smith is involved with the Legal Advice Centre, run by Queen Mary University. The Centre’s Pink Law initiative provides free legal advice to London’s LGBT+ communities. PRISM further supports high-profile events. For the fourth year running, Reed Smith co-hosts the InterLaw Diversity Forum’s Winter Carnival charity event. In its nine-year history it has raised over $500,000 for the Albert Kennedy Trust to support their vital work with homeless and at-risk LGBT+ youth, which includes a focus on race, ethnicity and trans youth; and for Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline, which provides help to some of the most vulnerable people in the LGBT+ community. The network is equally about socialising.
After a successful first social of the year at Tank & Paddle, PRISM will be looking to do social events throughout the year. At the same time, we are in the process of planning our events around Pride in London. The kick-off will be our annual summer party at the Ace Hotel to promote an inclusive environment for LGBT+ employees amongst clients and will culminate with walking in the parade. We are also planning to participate in the Rainbow Ribbon campaign for Just Like Us that week, promoting LGBT+ inclusion at schools throughout the UK.
PRISM benefits the firm by being a living embodiment of its core value, diversity & inclusion. The group operates in the UK but with the aim for similar networks to evolve in other European offices, potentially followed by those countries where LGBT+ rights are not as recognised as they are in Britain. We are not an exclusive group. We see the value of being inclusive and bringing in as many straight allies and friends as want to get involved. Twitter handle: @prism_RS
“Reed Smith’s Women’s Initiative is designed to ensure that women not only have a place at the table, but that they are also often at the head of the table. We are a recognized innovator, with our results speaking for themselves. At Reed Smith, women comprise approximately:
- 53% of our associates
- 33% of our counsel
- 24% of our partners
- 40% of our Executive Committee
- 38% of the firm’s management team
We are proud of these numbers, but they only tell part of the story. “ We’ve distinguished ourselves by being an industry leader in advancing and supporting its female lawyers. We continue to be recognized, year-after-year, for our efforts by receiving the highest awards and accolades for the advancement of women in the legal sector. We have also created a number of unique programs that are specifically designed to support its female attorneys throughout the arc of their legal career. These initiatives have had a significant impact on our ability to retain and promote our female attorneys, enabling the firm to earn WILEF Gold Certification for the past seven years.” Cristina M. Shea Global Chair – WINRS
WINRS actively build a platform for success for women at Reed Smith by focusing on the following areas:
- Business Development
- Our talent pipeline, from recruiting more women through to promoting them to Senior Associates which feeds in to our Partnership pipeline
- Flexibility on work hours so that women can achieve a work/life balance WINRS ensures women are accomplishing their mission through education, training, mentoring and networking opportunities, not only across the Firm, but also by engaging with our clients, our Partners and the wider legal industry.
Our Multicultural Network (MCN) gives our employees and clients the opportunity to positively experience and celebrate their differences, whilst also raising awareness of the issues that are pertinent to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) legal professionals.
The network strives to support and lead BAME initiatives and to be a driving force in our Firm’s broader diversity and recruitment strategies. “Our Firm’s Multicultural Network (MCN) was initially launched in 2015 and relaunched on 6th February 2018, in our London office.
The MCN is part of our firm’s wider diversity and inclusion strategy and will work towards helping to continue the great work we are already doing internally and externally in this arena. The MCN aims to provide all of our employees and selected clients with the opportunity to experience and celebrate their differences in a positive way. In addition to this, MCN aims to support and lead BAME initiatives and be a driving force that supports our firm’s broader diversity and recruitment strategies” – Nicolle Odutoye, Co-Chair of MCN and Trainee Solicitor
Firm Quote On Diversity:
Diversity and inclusion are central to our business. We work hard to ensure a fair and inclusive environment for all, where the unique insights, perspectives and backgrounds of individuals are valued.