Shepherd and Wedderburn- why diversity is important
Shepherd and Wedderburn have always had a commitment to promoting equality and diversity as in a competitive legal market inclusive working practices are critical to ensuring provision of a quality legal offering to clients. However in 2015 the firm launched a campaign promoting inclusion for all protected characteristic groupings with backing from our Chief Executive and 4 partner Diversity Champions.
The firm is working towards attainment of all of the Equality Standards set out by the Law Society of Scotland and is working with a range of external organisations to meaningfully progress equality initiatives e.g. Stonewall, Job Centre Plus, Investors in Young People, Healthy Working Lives, Aspiring Solicitors and the Prime initiative promoting social mobility in the legal sector. We believe that working with the external organisations provides fresh ideas and impetus for our internal work and also gives us important benchmarking criteria to track progress – e.g. attaining Double Tick status for promoting opportunities for prospective and current disabled employees, upward placement in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, introducing the offer of mentoring support for all young staff (IIYP), ensuring all staff undertake Equality and Diversity training, enhancing our maternity and shared parental leave provision, introducing PEAT 1 funding and maintenance allowances for incoming Law Society of Scotland trainees, ensuring our key suppliers promote inclusiveness in their businesses and offering 10 Prime pupils week long work experience placements per annum.
In order to progress our equality agenda we recognise that one individual within the firm has to coordinate and implement initiatives – this role lies with our HR Director – and that you need to engage with employees across the business – we are doing this via Focus Groups which are provided with senior level support eg LGBTA and Healthy Working Lives focus groups as well as securing feedback via a firm wide employee survey. We are just about to launch a refreshed website page tracking our key diversity achievements in 2015 and profiling our targets for 2016 which include rolling out an Unconscious Bias training module to all management staff, setting up two additional employee focus groups, partnering with Project Scotland and the School Law Website and attaining top 250 status in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index – this will send a strong message to the broader business world that we are an open and inclusive business seeking to recruit and retain the best staff with a commitment to providing outstanding quality services to our client base.
To apply for the Shepherd & Wedderburn opportunity with Aspiring Solicitors this month, please click here.