Eversheds- champion of gender and race equality

Overview With over 5000 people employed in 47 offices across the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, Eversheds is one of the largest full service law firms in the world, acting for the public and private sector. Eversheds has five main practice groups: Company Commercial, Human Resources, Legal Systems, Litigation and Dispute Management, and Real Estate. The industry sectors include: Education, Energy, Financial Institutions, Food, Healthcare, Local Government, Retail, Telecoms and Transport.

 

Motivation
 
Diversity and Inclusion - Eversheds.  A world of difference.
At Eversheds, we acknowledge the similarities and the differences that exist between our people.  These include the main strands: race, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation and faith, but also social and educational background, nationality, marital status and family or care responsibilities.  We recognise that most individuals do not belong to a single identity group but, in most cases, to several.
We value diversity by demonstrably valuing and respecting our people, clients and the community.
 
Diversity activities in 2008/09:
 
Senior advocacy: diversity is championed by our Chair, Alan Jenkins.
Training: we have provided diversity awareness training to all partners and managers. This is being  extended to all Eversheds people through an in-house e-learning product, respect@work, which is also available to clients
Networks: We have established networks for women (CARRIE - named after Carrie Morrison, the first female solicitor), for lesbian, gay and bisexual colleagues (Perspective), for inter-faith discussions, and for employees with disabilities (DEN).  One of our female partners is also a member of Women Corporate Directors (WCD).
Flexible working: Lifestyle is our award-winning programme, introduced in 2002 and updated in 2007, to utilise technological advancements to allow informal as well as formal flexible working arrangements
Procurement: our procurement policy ensures that our diversity and inclusion approach runs through all our supplier relationships.
Adapting our environment: to allow people to practice their faith while at work, we have provided a Contemplation Room in all our larger
offices.
Unlocking talent: 'Eversheds Unlocked' is our unique work experience programme for state school A level students who are interested in a career in law.
 
 
Success in Action
 
Our women’s network, CARRIE, was established in London in 2007, but now encompasses Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, and will shortly include Birmingham, Nottingham and Cardiff. 
 
CARRIE attendees include clients’ female General Counsel as well as our own solicitors, and speakers have included high-profile figures such as Janet Gaymer, CBE Commissioner for Public Appointments in England and Wales.  A recent CARRIE session explored emotional intelligence - how focusing on the relationship and not the task can turn people into inspiring leaders.  
We recently hosted a WCD dinner at our London office. WCD is the only national and international community of Women Corporate Directors who meet for regional dinners and share email updates.  With over 525 members who serve on over 675 boards,  the WCD programme is a catalyst for new thinking, networking and new friendships.
 
The Impact 
 
Eversheds completed the Opportunity Now Benchmark for the first time in 2009 and achieved a gold award. 
Recent awards wins include Most Effective Diversity Programme in The Lawyer HR Awards 2009 and the The Law Society Award for Excellence in Equality and Diversity 2008.
 
In 2007 and 2008, Eversheds featured in The Times Top 50 Where Women Want to Work.  Both The Financial Times and The Lawyer in 2008 highlighted Eversheds as the number one law firm for female partners out of the Top 10 law firms.
Through our own colleague survey in 2008 we were also delighted with the following results:
  • Eversheds actively supports diversity in the workplace by recognising and respecting the value of people from all backgrounds (69% favourable response against a 61% benchmark).
  • Eversheds provides equality of opportunity for all and does not discriminate (68% favourable response against a 69% benchmark).
  • The firm is supportive of my need to balance work and home life (61% up from 57% in 2007).