Welcome Welcome to a very special and timely Modern Law supplement – the result of a fantastic collaboration with Thomson Reuters that presents some of the leading voices in diversity and inclusion in the UK and beyond. The features and interviews aim to inspire your organisation in shaping your culture, strategy and the initiatives that help to create a different and inclusive legal sector and, ultimately, society.
Emma Waddingham Editor, Modern Law Magazine. 01765 600909 email@example.com www.modernlawmagazine.com
We have a series of interviews with Thomson Reuters professionals who work across the globe on portfolios and products that help shape diversity and inclusion in the business as well as enable their clients to do more in this space. We are incredibly lucky to present an interview with Dana Denis-Smith, Founder of the First 100 Years project and CEO of Obelisk Support. Dana has taken the time to share some of the challenges still facing the sector today as well as the levers that, if pulled, will help lawyers address the lack of gender diversity in law – particularly at a senior level.
Interview with Lucinda Case, Lead, Legal Professionals Europe at Thomson Reuters
Interview with Geoffrey Williams, Director, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Thomson Reuters
Interview with Dana Denis-Smith, Founder, First 100 Years & CEO, Obelisk Support
Thomson Reuters itself is a font of answers – it’s what it does best. Don’t reinvent the wheel or delay your approach because you can’t access information and support that cut straight to the heart of the issue. Speak to Thomson Reuters today and get some answers on the approach, products and support it can offer your firm to create a more inclusive legal workforce, filled with a variety of people, skills and experiences to help you offer diverse solutions for a diverse market.
Mindful Exclusion: Justine Lutterodt FRSA, Director of the Centre for Synchronous Leadership
Attracting & Retaining The Best Legal Talent, Thomson Reuters, Legal Insights Europe
Interview with Jim Leason, Customer Proposition Lead, Legal Professionals Europe at Thomson Reuters
Addressing Mental Health, Thomson Reuters Legal Insights Europe
Bullying & Sexual Harassment, Kieran Pender, Legal Advisor, Legal Policy & Research Unit, International Bar Association
Co-Editor | Emma Waddingham Co-Editor | Poppy Green Modern Law Magazine is published by Charlton Grant Ltd ©2019
Employers know they can do better but often don’t know where to turn. As well as your people, a great starting point is to approach organisations and charities working with communities and employers across the UK, such as Diversity UK. As Geoffrey Williams, Director, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Thomson Reuters, explains in his interview (page 8): “There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, so long as you consider why you’re asking.”
Project Manager | Martin Smith Events Sales | Kate McKittrick
All material is copyrighted both written and illustrated. Reproduction in part or whole is strictly forbidden without the written permission of the publisher. All images and information is collated from extensive research and along with advertisements is published in good faith. Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information in this publication was correct at press time, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.
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Lead, Legal Professionals Europe at Thomson Reuters
Diversity and inclusiveness: the path to an equal future for all in the legal profession
Our aim is to reposition the conversation away from what ‘women can do’ and put greater onus on organisations, law firms, and the wider legal industry.
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ucinda Case began her career at Slaughter and May, where she qualified as a solicitor. Building upon her experience, she worked in the corporate departments for both Clifford Chance and Freshfields. She also spent time as an investment banker for UBS, but it wasn’t until working for Thomson Reuters when Lucinda realised her passion for diversity and inclusion needed to be a greater focus. In this interview, Lucinda discusses her career journey and shares how her passion for efficient delivery of legal services and gender balance in legal leadership levels have perfectly intersected. Case is an active advocate of greater diversity in the senior ranks across the legal industry and has led the launch of the Thomson Reuters UK and Ireland Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law programme—which is aimed at retaining more women in the legal services industry and redressing the gender imbalance at leadership levels. MLM: Tell us about yourself. What influences have impacted your career path? LC: After qualifying as a solicitor, I spent the first part of my career in knowledge management with two City law firms. It was, and still is, somewhat rare to find a fantastic career option that combined a really interesting and challenging legal role with the ability to have good chunks of time with my family. After a number
of years, I was keen for a new challenge, and wanted to use my knowledge gained on the inside of law firms for a role with a broader impact. I then moved into the corporate world to work for Practical Law Company (PLC)—which was very much an innovator of its time with its mission to help law firms and in house legal teams be more efficient and reduce cost. PLC was going from strength to strength and ultimately presented an attractive acquisition—and Thomson Reuters successfully negotiated and bought PLC in 2013. After the acquisition, I stayed on with Thomson Reuters as I realised this gave me further opportunities in a large corporate as opposed to a start-up. On reflection, I feel hugely fortunate that I have been able to forge a career path that allowed me more time at home when I needed it, and then time to ramp up, and focus more on my career, when it felt right. MLM: You have been with Thomson Reuters for a few years. Tell us about your time with the company. LC: I have been with Thomson Reuters for six years now in a number of roles. I was running PLC in New York at the time the business was acquired, and fortunately able to stay on in a fascinating integration role. After a great four years in the US, working in the world’s largest legal market, I was able to secure a role with the company, back in the UK, as Head of Strategy for the region. This was
In the final quarter of 2018 we kicked off a research project in partnership with Acritas, which will be published later this year, on the levers being used in law firms to help turn the dial on inequality.
an excellent transitional role as it provided me an opportunity to really understand the dynamics in the market in the UK. Whilst there are similarities, there are significant differences in the legal industry between the US and UK. This step in my career refreshed my knowledge of the industry here, and helped me understand the current challenges our customers face—and this enabled me to better understand fitting solutions. Two years later I was ready for the next challenge and I became Managing Director of the UK legal business for Thomson Reuters. It was a huge privilege to take the helm of a business that has been part of the fabric of the legal systems of the UK and Ireland for 200 years. And to have the opportunity to lead a great group of people who are passionate about our mission to help our customers deliver the best legal services to their clients. As a member of the executive team, I also took on sponsoring two initiatives: our internal Black Employee Network, and our Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law programme—which is for legal professionals in any role in the legal industry. During our recent reorganisation, to ensure we are operating in an agile way and close to our customers, I was offered a new role as Head of the Legal business in Europe about six months ago with responsibility for all our products and services for our law firm, government, bar and academic customers in the
region. Again, I am fortunate to have the opportunity, while leading our wider legal business, to engage with the market to implement positive advances for legal practice, and cultural change for our profession. MLM: You have long been an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. How did your passion for area this develop?
results it drives. I am proud to work for a company that truly supports D&I both for our company—and encourages us to help make a positive difference in our markets. Jim Smith, our CEO, has made a public commitment to achieving 40% women in senior leadership by 2020 and we are well on track to that number. And my own vision is quite clear that we need much more diversity of thought and approach if we are to reinvent this profession for the 21st Century.
LC: I realised when I first stepped into the profession that it would be much tougher to ’have it all’ and stay the course to partnership than it had appeared from the outside. I ended up pursuing the path I describe above, which provided me a broader overview of the legal markets, and many will appreciate this was not a typical path in the legal profession. Though it was from the time I became a part of Thomson Reuters I realised that I had to be a stronger voice of advocacy for more diversity in senior levels of the profession. I knew the reality of inequality—and the demographics needed to change. Though it is not merely about people individually effecting change; often the take can be that women need to ‘fix themselves’ to be more successful in attaining senior leadership roles. Rather, it is more about change at the organisational level.
MLM: What do you think are the triggers around the increasing awareness of the need to address diversity and inclusion within the legal industry?
Thomson Reuters itself places a huge emphasis on D & I, not just from a sense of fairness but because of the business
Some women leave private practice and opt for in-house roles, which can be equally—if not a more rewarding career
LC: As a society, certainly the #MeToo movement has stirred conversation. For the legal profession, specifically, I think that some of the significant triggers are the fact the proportion of women who are joining the profession is increasing year on year, but the profile of leadership is changing very, very slowly. Various studies show that women entering the profession make up over 50% of the junior level and trainee roles. Yet when looking beyond about five to seven years PQE, the number of women in private practice starts to drop off. In larger law firms, the number of women in senior level leadership roles is around 23%.
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Diversity and inclusiveness guarantees a more open and varied discussion – and helps turn the dial a little further towards an equal future for all in the legal profession.
path. Still, there is a healthy percentage of women that leave the practice of law entirely. People have realised we are losing great talent from the industry as women self-select out at various points in their career. Though the conversation isn’t just about the career of women lawyers. Though men traditionally face less obstacles as they climb the career ladder, they are also impacted by the gender imbalance. More men seek work-life balance to progress their career and have time for family too. Another trigger is the next generations of lawyers. Millennials, in particular, seem to be more outspoken and less attracted by the opportunity of partnership than perhaps some of the earlier generations. Mindsets are changing. Technology is changing. Yet there are aspects of our profession in which time appears to stand still. Reports show that diverse teams make better decisions, are more innovative—and produce better business outcomes. A more diverse and inclusive profession is better for everyone—and this reality is becoming part of daily conversations. MLM: What inspired you to launch Thomson Reuters Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law (TWLL) programme? Tell us about the programme. LC: We felt not just inspired, but compelled to launch the programme given our position at the centre of the legal industry serving customers from the MOJ to the smallest firm of solicitors. We are a
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trusted provider to the profession and felt we could build on that trust to create a network and uncover solutions that could truly drive positive change in the industry. We believe passionately that we need to keep more women in the profession to ensure we reflect the society we are serving. Our mission statement is: to work towards gender parity in leadership roles in the legal industry to reflect the balance of women entering the legal profession. Our aim is to reposition the conversation away from what ‘women can do’ and put greater onus on organisations, law firms, and the wider legal industry. Our events and content is about raising awareness, sharing practical steps, and bringing people together to create a strong community dedicated to finding ways to truly move the needle on gender inequality in the legal industry. Despite the name of our programme we are not just women, in senior legal roles, gathering to discuss the issues and find solutions. Our female Advisory Board members come from various legal backgrounds and offer a wealth of experience and perspective. Contributing to our pan-legal professional views, we also have men on our Advisory Board. We always encourage men—as well as lawyers at any stage of their career to be a part of the movement. Diversity and inclusiveness guarantees a more open and varied discussion—and helps turn the dial a little further towards an equal future for all in the legal profession.
MLM: You recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the TWLL initiative. What are some of the highlights from the past year of the TWLL. LC: We are particularly pleased with the wide number of people we have reached via roundtable events and our website allowing people to have conversations about the barriers they may have faced, and equally the help they have had in moving upwards through the profession. Our first conference last May really focused on the practical solutions to try and address the retention issue. We just produced our TWLL report for 2018, and our records show reaching over 400 people in person; 10,510 pages views on our content; and over 10,000 instances of engagement on our social media channels. In the final quarter of 2018 we kicked off a research project in partnership with Acritas, which will be published later this year, on the levers being used in law firms to help turn the dial on inequality. Topping off an exceptional first year for the UK TWLL programme, we got a great accolade and international recognition by receiving a Gold© Stevie Award with our US sister TWLL programme. The reception of our TWLL programme has been tremendous and we are delighted with the growing interest in our activities and more people wanting to get directly involved. MLM: What do you hope to achieve with the TWLL programme?
LC: Our mission is to work towards gender parity in leadership roles in the legal industry to reflect the balance of women entering the profession. We feel we are making good progress to identifying the real barriers that are preventing women advancing and can identify some concrete, simple solutions to help organisations improve their pipelines for female leadership. I really hope we will also encourage women to aim for other business leadership roles like COO, Heads of Strategy, Innovation etc. There is a much wider range of leadership options now available. MLM: What do you see for the next few years of the legal profession around diversity and inclusion? LC: I am so pleased there is now such a focus on D&I and an awareness of the benefits it brings to organisations, individuals and our clients. I am also pleased there is more focus on respect in the workplace and ‘bad’ behaviour not being tolerated anymore. There is still more to do but I really hope we will see a more diverse, inclusive and respectful profession evolve which is of course what our clients expect. Ours is a venerable profession, which has not suffered the loss of trust that other parts of industry may have done. We need to retain that position. Lucinda Case is the Lead, Legal Professionals Europe at Thomson Reuters.
There is still more to do but I really hope we will see a more diverse, inclusive and respectful profession evolve which is of course what our clients expect. Thomson Reuters Supplement | 7
Modern Law speaks to Geoffrey Williams, Director, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Thomson Reuters, about the initiatives he leads and where law firms can seek inspiration, encouragement and support to build on diversity and inclusion within the legal sector. MLM: Tell us about how you started your career and progressed into diversity and inclusion. GW: I started my working life in an entirely different background – in the music industry. After a decade, I hit a pinnacle with my role and decided that I wanted to continue to learn and evolve. I spent a time in recruitment and quickly realised that wasn’t my passion so had a really in-depth conversation with a recruitment agency, pulling on all the experience I had. They suggested I’d be perfect for a role in a media company (Thomson Reuters) that was looking for someone to map out and plan its learning and development events. That was my first role here, almost 10 years ago, to support Thomson Reuters’ Learning and Development team and support its events across the globe – from Barcelona to America and here in the UK.
I’ve been lucky enough to be supported by amazing leaders at Thomson Reuters. My manager at the time felt I could do more and sent me on a CIPD HR course, to support my role in people management and development. I then designed the programmes we were implementing as well as the events themselves. Around
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If you’re looking to enhance your diversity and inclusion piece, take a look at unconscious bias in the workplace and understand it.
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I surround myself with people and organisations that can guide me. Emma Cusdin at Trans*formation is my sounding board about the Trans community. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, so long as you consider why you’re asking. that time, Thomson Reuters was changing so I moved into our Corporate Team to work with our legal business, health care and science business, and tax business, in terms of their learning programmes. I looked after our global learning centres in the business – our library – across Europe. I then progressed again to help our talent team select and progress the right individuals to go into our team leadership development programmes, ensuring they had the resources and training they needed to be leaders in the business. While I was doing that, I remember saying to my boss that I loved it but ‘what was next for me?’ He said there was an opportunity in the new global diversity and inclusion team’ a ‘great role for me’. I, in my infinite wisdom (and I’m sure he dines out on this now), said that I didn’t want to be part of the diversity and inclusion conversation; I didn’t want to be the black man taking about diversity and inclusion as it would fall on deaf ears. He disagreed and suggested I do some research on the subject matter, speak to individuals in the business and outside of it that are involved in diversity and inclusion, and decide afterwards. I did that and discovered that a well-organised and structured strategy in diversity and inclusion focuses on the culture of the organisation, it’s about building community, about education and informing each other about cultural differences, as well as how people interact in the organisation. I applied for the role and was indeed given the opportunity to manage diversity and inclusion for UK and Ireland, starting off with a look at external benchmarking – measuring how we performed in terms of the external market to attract and retain people in the business. I then expanded my role and had more control over the strategy and what it means to be diverse at Thomson Reuters. One of the things we did at that point was to launch our Diversity and Inclusion Index (which is now owned by Refinitiv, the former Finance and Risk business at Thomson Reuters). We looked at diversity and inclusion to demonstrate our value – to use our knowledge and data (what we’re known for as an organisation) and measure the financials of an organisation from a diversity and inclusion standpoint. I’m really proud of being a part of that team. The Index was very much part of demonstrating value and evidencing how diversity and inclusion comprises more than a bunch of initiatives, showing that Diversity and Inclusion more than ‘doing the right thing’ - a narrative you often hear in this space.
MLM: What other initiatives did you launch? GW: In diversity and inclusion, ‘difference’ is very important.
It’s not about making everyone the same. We held sessions around what it means to be different. We all come at this
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subject from a personal standpoint. Our experiences of what ‘different’ means and how certain communities fair in society all depend on what viewpoint we have. There were conversations about how individuals might have to change themselves to fit into a ‘corporate community’ – suggesting that while an organsiation embraces diversity and inclusion as a concept, it needs to deliver through its actions. We launched a number of internal initiatives to educate our staff, to help them approach diversity and inclusion from an inclusive standpoint, and then spot talent to help them grow into leaders. We have since launched a number of internal initiatives around gender, such as looking to ensure that by 2020, 40% of our leaders are female. At the end of 2018, Thomson Reuters spun off the Finance and Risk business and I was promoted into Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion. I do think there is another opportunity here to look at: what diversity and inclusion means for our organisation; to consider what it means to be diverse; how that helps us attract and retain new talent, and also; to strengthen our relationships with our customers.
MLM: What can law firms do to make clear, positive steps forwards in diversity and inclusion? GW: The common problem with diversity and inclusion is whether individuals consider themselves as the ‘right’ person to take part in a diversity and inclusion conversation – if they should even have one and whether they should focus on quotas. We are all inherently different and need to talk about diversity and inclusion because of that. It’s a case of finding the unique piece of the puzzle that fits and helps your business to grow. Yes, we need to measure success – such as witnessing diversity at leadership level - but it’s important that no-one feels the need to opt out of the diversity and inclusion conversation; that everyone in the organisation understands why we have these initiatives and how it affects them.
For example, if we’re talking about families and one participant remarks ‘oh, I don’t have a family, this conversation doesn’t relate to me’, I would disagree. My response would be: we all come from families; you may have someone you need to care for or look after, now or in the future. We want to respect and understand this as a business. To do that, you need to be involved.
In diversity and inclusion, ‘difference’ is very important. It’s not about making everyone the same.
MLM: And why should law firm leaders be involved? GW: The reason people work in diversity and inclusion is that
you want to make society – and the workplace - better. I want young talented individuals from all communities to see people like them in a leadership role and think, ‘she / he looks like me and has achieved this; this is the organisation for me’.
Alongside retaining and developing talent, another reason for understanding diversity and inclusion is that you need to identify your clients and those with the money to invest – in this case, in legal services. Ask yourself, who are your clients, who are your future customers and how can you attract them? You want to ensure you’re able to understand your market spend, when they spend and why – so it’s important to understand the culture of different communities.
MLM: How do you focus your initiatives? Do you look to society to help you shape your diversity and inclusion agenda? GW: I try not to be too influenced by the external narrative
in society otherwise it might feel like a reactive approach to the subject. We have a clear cultural mandate and we look at diversity and inclusion but also to understand difference. We have focused on Black History Month and LGBT month, to highlight books and resources that can help people understand the subjects, to help with our diversity and inclusion education piece. We do have a mandate to talk about gender pay reporting but we extend it – to consider other differences, such as women in the LGBT community and disabled women. It’s about everyone and everyone is part of the conversation. Having said that, trends and focused conversations in society do enhance my role as I can be inspired or use the topic as a starter with others, but it shouldn’t drive what we do.
MLM: Who and what inspires you? GW: I look to some of the consultancy firms – they always
do interesting things around diversity and inclusion. I also look to influencers – musicians and literary types. I look to the past too. For example, the 150-year old (plus) women’s rights for equality movement is one of the slowest moving changes ever as we still haven’t cracked that nut. I always look back and reframe the lesson as ‘isn’t this illogical that we don’t have the same rights as one another?’
MLM: What have you learnt? GW: That diversity and inclusion is a hard subject. People
come at it from a very personal standpoint and that individuals have very personal passions for diversity and inclusion matters. For example, a man may have a young daughter and he may be focused on improving things to make her life better. That’s great and we can support that but we have to ensure that stakeholders have a broader standpoint. A common challenge is managing the issues surrounding religion and sexuality – to respect someone’s religious beliefs but explain that you can’t hinder another person at work or hold them back because your religion doesn’t accept their way of life / community.
I don’t know everything of course, so I’m always learning! I surround myself with people and organisations that can guide me. Emma Cusdin at Trans*formation is my sounding board about the Trans community. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, so long as you consider why you’re asking.
MLM: What’s next for diversity and inclusion at Thomson Reuters? GW: I’m passionate about integrating our diversity and
inclusion agenda into everything we do – to help people understand what it means to them and how we can spot and grow all of our future talent. I’m also looking at how we share our successes externally. We have been successful, have won awards, have turned heads and I’m looking to amplify that and push forwards.
MLM: What should be on a law firm’s diversity and inclusion agenda? GW: Set an aspiration and be honest with yourself as a
business. You can set metrics to hit but you really need to identify the uncomfortable spot as a business – then look at challenging that. For example, how can you be authentic in diversity and inclusion: to diversify your top-level staff as well as at a lower level. What’s holding you back? Use a business driver to do this and be wary of coming at it from a socio-economic standpoint alone. Speak to us – we’re always keen to share our diversity and inclusion knowledge. Go out and speak to groups like Stonewall and Black British Business Awards; understand how issues affecting these groups are impacting the progression of talent within your business. If you’re looking to enhance your diversity and inclusion piece, take a look at unconscious bias in the workplace and understand it. See what it means for your business and look to doing things differently. Make any change part of your cultural approach; don’t just launch a bunch of projects. Make it last and stay relevant! Geoffrey Williams is Director and Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Thomson Reuters & Co-founder of Rocking Ur Teens.
I discovered that a well-organised and structured strategy in diversity and inclusion focuses on the culture of the organisation. Thomson Reuters Supplement | 11
First 100 Years The project’s first aim was to create a strong library of role models to discover the female pioneers, which were totally lost in the profession... Dana talks to Modern Law about the door once closed to leaders and innovators in the legal industry.
ana Denis-Smith has had a varied and impressive career to date. After starting out as a journalist, and then later qualifying as a lawyer at Linklaters, she soon ‘discovered her entrepreneurial gene’ and has since been spearheading her own business, Obelisk Support, that provides legal work to law firms and organisations who use its large crop of experienced lawyers. The business, which operates a unique flexible working model allows its lawyers, specifically mothers, to work around personal commitments, has received industry wide recognition and respect. In this interview, Denis-Smith discusses her expansive career path to date; the First 100 Years project, which celebrates a century of women practicing law; and, what changes are required to improve gender equality in the legal industry.
MLM: For those of whom don’t know you, tell us a bit about your background and current focus. DDS: I started my professional life as a journalist and later entered the law profession, after qualifying when I was 30 years old at Linklaters. I left relatively soon after to set up my business, Obelisk Support, because I discovered my entrepreneurial gene. This is probably linked to the fact that as a journalist you have a lot of freedom to decide on the stories that you want to cover, and I was missing that autonomy. I don’t think the corporate culture suited me.
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So, I came up with the idea of outsourcing by ‘home sourcing’, because I felt the attrition rate in large organisations—where there are very long hours of work in the legal sector—was not suited to everyone. It was pushing some people out, and there was a lot of talent that wanted to work in a different way. I thought if law firms are willing to outsource legal work to India, for example, in lower cost jurisdictions and make the investment of fostering those relationships, then there must be appetite to work with people, known to them when these people practiced in firms. Also, there is the added benefit that they are located much nearer to their offices. Allowing people to work flexibly can be good for their families, organisations and the environment—as they don’t need to commute. It’s been eight years since I set up Obelisk Support—underpinned by that idea of home sourcing; for primarily qualified women who, at the time, wanted to work in a different way, and didn’t want to confine themselves to a 9-5pm day, or even 9-10pm— or 9am til’ you don’t know when you are going to get home. However, these women still had a lot of talent and ability. Home sourcing meant their family circumstances could evolve, and they could still return to work on a full-time basis with no limitation on the hours that they want to put in.
MLM: This year is the centennial of the legislative change permitting women to work in professional practice. To mark this occasion, you launched the First 100 Years project. Tell us about this initiative. DDS: I started the First 100 Years project in 2014 in anticipation of 2019 being the centenary year, and was also realistic that I needed five years to gather momentum behind the project and
I think there is huge power in new women entering the profession, and what they need to do is learn to own their new-found place as the majority player.
reframe the conversation around the place of women in history— which hadn’t really been discussed. When I was practicing as a lawyer, I wasn’t aware when women started in the legal profession because nobody taught us that. There was very little exposure to the input women had made in law —especially on the business side of law. All our textbooks were about men as geniuses of contract law, and I did not really come across female lawyers or judges. I only discovered we were approaching 100 years of women being able to practice law, and the reasons behind it, in November 2013. I then realised that there was a five-year period where we could inform the next generation about their past, how important women have been and reframe their expectation of the future by being wellinformed about their past. The project’s first aim was to create a strong library of role models to discover the female pioneers, which were totally lost in the profession and create a coherent timeline that illustrated the journey of women in law since 1919.
and I felt the project could really change the way people talk about it and engage. People engage about the First 100 Years project on a human level. For example, it’s not about an initiative that would put five people on a scheme, it’s about storytelling and relating to those stories—and I also thought men could identify with it because you can be a role model as a woman to a man as well. Some of the reporting around the lack of female representation at partner level in private practice, in particular, has triggered lots of man bashing, and it’s very divisive. I felt that by illustrating the historic context was an opportunity for us to be more inclusive, positive and humane. I just felt we needed to shift the framework around how we were talking about this topic.
MLM: How would you assess the state of gender equality in the legal profession? What key changes are required to create a more gender equal legal profession?
It was a big research project and a lot of time was required to unearth the story. We wanted it to be a story telling project: very visual, easy to grasp to give a sense of curiosity to the world outside of law as well—so a new lawyer can be inspired by a woman lawyer talking about her career in an engaging, personal way. It is a project about women in law, but to be accessible to the world beyond law because I felt the profession often speaks in its own language and you need to create that bridge with the real world so that the population that is actually using us as lawyers feel that we are human. That’s why we chose the medium of film and made it very visual; we set out to achieve 100 voices of women in law by capturing every single ‘First’ story of a woman that’s still alive, and then identifying the future ‘First’ women that are contributing today, and bringing it together in one centralised library with journalism supporting the stories, and other commissioned editorial from academics.
DDS: When you look at it in a historic context, you can see the rapid rise of women—and suddenly now we are almost seeing the feminisation of the profession, with the majority entering the profession are female on the solicitor side. I think there is huge power in new women entering the profession, and what they need to do is learn to own their new-found place as the majority player.
MLM: What inspired you to create the First 100 Years project?
Whether they go up to partnership or not is a separate question. There is a generally a problem of leadership and representation which involves the partnership model and having to change, really giving a stronger voice to women to say equity—these are business driven decisions. But the expectations of women can
DDS: It was the issue of diversity that really motivated me. If I spoke to people about women and equality they rolled their eyes,
Where, as a profession, we struggle is the advancement of women. There is an expectation, that doesn’t happen just in law, that when women are relatively new [to the profession] they have to do more than their male equivalent. How women are assessed in terms of ability seems often to be judged upon what she doesn’t have instead of what she does have as qualities. This sets up women to fail, which means they disengage and walk away. So, we need to fix the longevity of women’s careers in law.
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Some of the reporting around the lack of female representation at partner level in private practice, in particular, has triggered lots of man bashing, and it’s very divisive. Dana Denis-Smith
be an issue. For example, a woman might want to flatline, and still be a greater contributor to the profession—this should also be accepted. Whereas now, it’s kind of you either keep standing up or not, and that’s not a good proposition. That to me is the biggest challenge.
they are the majority, and they can start shaping the rules, without accepting it for how it is. Sometimes women will have backlash, but they should not give up. I think they need to behave like the majority and that involves pushing the system in which they operate.
The other one is that of pay. It’s quite transparent at the bottom of the profession, but bonuses and performance rewards are not always transparent or defined. Women always suffer and end up being poorly rewarded. Equal pay for equal work should be applied.
Also, collaborate with colleagues and other women in similar positions to drive the change. But if you own the fact that you are part of the revolution, in terms of how the profession has transformed, women can really start enjoying new structures, and recreate the house.
MLM: How can senior male leaders play their part in addressing the issues that impede women as they progress in their legal careers? DDS: I think there is a separation between private practice and in-house, where you have many more women becoming general counsels or rising up in comparison to private practice. Private practice leaders need to review partnership structures. For example, you may have a 30% target that you have achieved, but how is that distributed? Is it mainly women in salaried positions, and men in equity, or it is actually even? The process needs to be transparent where women need to know what they need to do to move onto the next stage in their career. I know it’s very fashionable to say ‘introduce flexible working’ and ‘make sure women are not by default the primary carer for children’, or perceived to be—that all helps, but at the end of the day it is about clarity of aspiration and for that needs to be acknowledged by senior leaders.
MLM: What advice would you give to an aspiring female leader in the legal industry? DDS: The life of a woman entering law today is not the life of a woman entering 100 years ago, where they operated as a periphery of the profession. Women are the centre of it because
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Dana Denis-Smith is the Founder of the First 100 Years project and CEO of Obelisk Support.
Sometimes women will have backlash, but they should not give up. I think they need to behave like the majority and that involves pushing the system in which they operate.
Jim Leason, Customer Proposition Lead, Legal Professionals Europe at Thomson Reuters, speaks to Modern Law about the role of technology, addressing the work-life balance and understanding client expectations, to help create a more inclusive workplace in the legal sector. MLM: You have had an exciting and varied career so far; tell us a bit about your background and current focus. JL: I started my career as a trainee at Stephenson Hardwood in the City. I trained initially in what was called business tech, in the heart of the dotcom boom, working with clients that included HSBC and RBS. I then moved to Kemp Little, a leading tech focused boutique, mainly advising tech suppliers, and focusing on government outsourcing arrangements. Around 2006, when I was just under six years qualified, I wanted to get closer to the business, and naively thought that moving in-house might also improve my work-life balance.
I joined Thomson, a client of Kemp Little, to work in its in-house legal team just before we acquired Reuters. I moved about a bit within Thomson Reuters working in different business units and eventually progressed to become Chief Counsel of its Governance, Risk and Compliance business. The itch I had for moving closer to the business opened up an opportunity, in 2014, to move into an operational role as part of a small team tasked with setting up a new business line providing a managed service for KYC complianceâ€”OrgID. I was given responsibility for designing the operational processes and workflow platform, and for setting up the operational centre in Poland. After we launched this service, an opportunity arose to move across into the Thomson Reuters Legal business to
manage, initially, our court management solutions business in Europe. We had just won a contract to deliver our C-Track case management and electronic filing solution into the Rolls building. I still retain responsibility for our court management solutions business as well as now having responsibility for our customer propositionsâ€”essentially making sure we have the right portfolio and value propositions for the customer segments and markets that we sell into.
MLM: What are you currently working on and how does that fit into the Diversity and Inclusion piece? JL: We have just launched a product called Thomson Reuters Panoramicâ„˘ that
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will provide a better capability for law firms to plan, guide, manage, and price the matters that they work on. Over time, Panoramic will capture data on who in the firm really is working on particular tasks within a matter, building a better profile of people’s skills and expertise within the firm. It should also provide more insight into the capacity fee earners have at any one time. Capturing and assessing this data when assembling teams to work on matters, and then working in a better-planned environment, may help to manage some of the challenges that lawyers talk about in terms of work-life balance and creating a more inclusive range of skills and people working on a transaction. Certainly, there was a view when I was practising that lawyers were at the disposal of their clients, including working through many nights on the trot, if necessary. When I look back on those days, I’m not sure I could, hand on heart, say that all that late-night working was absolutely necessary. With most transactions, there’s usually a high-level timetable that everyone is working towards from the outset; and there’s usually enough time to work through what needs to be done. However, all too often, things drift in the early stages— perhaps through complacency, but often the early tasks in a project will be dependent on information forthcoming and people giving instructions on strategy etc, and then ramp up when the parties realise time is running out, forcing everyone to focus—hence the last-minute rush to finalise everything. This challenge can be minimised through improved project management. Our Panoramic tool aims to give everyone on a team visibility on every aspect of the transaction workflow, to see where you are on a project and determine if things are slipping. This should enable ongoing conversations with a client to better manage dependency risks, and to avoid the need to drop everything at the last minute to catch-up for delays introduced earlier in the project. Gaining much needed control on legal projects, and planning ahead for when there may be particular peaks in workload should also help those who have caring commitments and who find it hard to drop things for work at the last minute. Breaking down projects as we have done in Panoramic should also give firms more ability to right-source tasks on projects, and to ensure that those who have a need to work flexibly or those who need to plan for alternative care arrangements have an improved chance of gaining experience that might otherwise not be available.
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These challenges are often cited as a barrier to career progression, in particular for women. I am optimistic that Thomson Reuters Panoramic may help address and solve some of these problems, enabling an improvement in gender diversity and inclusion in legal services, amongst other things.
solving problems for clients. Speaking from my experience both working in law firms and as an in-house counsel, clients pay premium rates and expect a range of solutions from their advisers. For any firm it’s got to be a no brainer to ensure they have the most diverse teams working on client matters.
MLM: What are those challenges?
MLM: How might the workflow in some firms limit opportunities for women, for example?
JL: Preliminary findings of research being conducted by Acritas, in conjunction with Thomson Reuters, highlights some pretty shocking statistics in terms of women in the legal sector. For example, out of 22 firms interviewed so far, 62% of those joining the firms as junior lawyers are female—a legal career clearly has at least an equal, if not more attraction to women than men. As women then progress through the system to senior associate level, the diversity drops slightly to 57%. But, when you look at the partner levels, the number drops to almost half of the initial intake, as 35% of partners in the firms surveyed are female. The sector has to ask itself, why does it have more women than men entering the profession, but as they progress, the diversity starts to drop off in favour of men—especially in the period when lawyers are looking to progress their careers from senior associate to partner levels. The final research aims to explain the levers that law firms can pull to improve things, and early findings indicate one of the important levers than can improve diversity is flexible working. Creating a better, more accessible work-life, creating clear and transparent career paths and job descriptions, having more diverse representation on client pitches, for example, are but a few.
MLM: Can a diverse law firm really benefit clients? JL: I believe other research—such as that from Harvard Business Review—explains why diverse businesses are smarter. A group of people with very different experiences will offer a richer set of solutions and perspectives on how to solve a problem. For the most part in the legal world, lawyers are being asked to solve problems for their clients. Often, I think, due to the training needed to become a lawyer, those entering the profession tend to follow a well-trodden path reducing the diversity of career experiences and backgrounds. If this challenge is then compounded with limited gender and/or ethnic diversity, you end up with a mono-perspective on
JL: If promotions depend, in part, on billing targets and/or the depth of work experiences that a lawyer has achieved— and the firm is not set up to enable flexible working on matters—it stands to reason that lawyers who work part-time, or who are restricted in the work they can take on because of caring commitments, for instance, are disadvantaged compared to their peers who may work full-time, or who are able to work 24/7 without consequences. The system is stacked against you, and a lack of diversity is likely to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The interim findings of the Acritas research suggests that law firms need to get their heads around more flexible working and improve the mechanisms they have for getting work done. To ensure you’re authentically inclusive, you need to enable anyone with the rights skills and talent to be able to support a project. To do that, you need a mechanism for identifying all the people who have those right skills and talent; better still you need to be able to identify the best people for a job based on the rights skills and talent, and the available capacity to get the work done. Looking at time recorded has limited
When I look back on those days, I’m not sure I could, hand on heart, say that all that late-night working was absolutely necessary.
Gaining much needed control on legal projects, and planning ahead for when there may be particular peaks in workload should also help those who have caring commitments and who find it hard to drop things for work at the last minute.
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I’m optimistic, because right now there is an understanding— certainly in the UK—that diversity and inclusion and addressing the levers that prevent it, are problems that clients and law firms need to solve together. value in forecasting capacity to be able to take on more work. This is why having a system that tracks work that is committed in the near future, alongside work that has been done in the past, is crucial for better resourcing on matters, including ensuring work is allocated fairly and objectively, and inclusively to accommodate those working flexibly.
MLM: How can clients impact the work-life balance of a law firm? JL: Sending out instructions to a law firm at 7pm on a Friday with a short deadline is obviously going to challenge life outside of work for anyone. It is incumbent on in-house counsel to think about how they manage and interact with law firms. While there are always emergencies in life, I found in my career in-house, there were very few instructions that I sent out to law firms that could not have been issued during the working day and with a reasonable turnaround time. Similarly operating now in a business role, for the most part deadlines on projects can often be adjusted with notice and planning ahead. The need to operate an environment where the expectation that lawyers in law firms are simply expected to drop everything for their clients seems unnecessary—but does require a commitment to communication and transparency—both between the in-house lawyer and internal client, and between the external lawyer and in-house client. One thing the recent Thomson Reuters Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law event did was highlight the desire
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from both corporate counsel and law firms in the UK to come together and have an active discussion as to why the legal sector, in particular, is so challenged to enable inclusivity. Another area where I think there is room for improvement is in how client relationship development takes place. Often firms put on breakfast seminars, or invite their clients out for evening entertainments. There is a common complaint that this is limiting to those who have commitments outside working hours. I think this is also an area where lawyers can innovate and simply talk to their clients about how to find much needed time between them to invest in developing the relationship, but within the working day.
MLM: How do you see the role of legal technology in improving diversity in the practice of law in the future? JL: I’ve already explained how I think tools like Panoramic are going to significantly improve the way matters are managed. There’s no doubt, as well, that technology will enable many efficiencies in the way lawyers work. This is going to reduce the amount of time lawyers spend, for instance, reviewing and drafting documents. It’s going to enable lawyers to focus more on adding value aided by tools that automate document creation and review and analyse data to help solve problems, whether that’s through more effective search and retrieval of knowledge, or predicting outcomes or analysing risks. That‘s got to help level the playing field for those working flexibly and allow lawyers to
be measured more effectively against their judgment and outcomes, rather than their ability to churn work. As firms start to adopt more technology in their practice, we’re also starting to see the introduction of new roles with specialist skills in law firms to work alongside lawyers, for instance to support pricing analysis, or data analysis, or to support process mapping and continual improvement. I think law firms are starting to cotton onto the fact that they offer products and that they need to start developing a product management mindset—analysing the unmet needs of their clients in the way they serve them, designing new solutions that add value to meet those needs, and focusing on continual improvement of service delivery. As well as this offering alternative legal careers for lawyers, it’s an opportunity for law firms to bring in specialist talent from other industries, increasing the diversity of experience in firms—and that has to be a good thing for the future. I’m optimistic, because right now there is an understanding—certainly in the UK— that diversity and inclusion and addressing the levers that prevent it, are problems that clients and law firms need to solve together. There are also signs that lawyers have never been more open to exploring different ways of working, and adopting technology to gain efficiencies and add value, which I believe will eventually level the playing field. Jim Leason is the Customer Proposition Lead, Legal Professionals Europe at Thomson Reuters.
Mindful Exclusion: Evolving Your Formula for Performance Although the conversation about diversity and inclusion (D&I) has advanced substantially, many continue to see it as separate from, or even at odds with, the conversation about organisational performance. In fact, the two are interdependent. In both cases, success is determined by the formula for exclusion and the level of organisational commitment to evolving it. Justine Lutterodt FRSA, Director of the Centre for Synchronous Leadership, explains. ‘Mindless Exclusion’ at work Imagine that you have been excluded from a situation or process at work—from attending an important meeting, for example, or from contributing to a major decision, or from receiving the promotion you were hoping for. How would you feel? As Director of the Centre for Synchronous Leadership (CSL), I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of individuals in the context of team development. When asked this question, most have a visceral negative reaction. They feel confused, sad, angry, and deflated. They assume that the exclusion is a form of rejection, signifying their lack of importance or belonging. And it hurts. But is this paranoia? Exclusion is, after all, an essential aspect of what it means to be strategic. Not everyone can attend every meeting or contribute to every decision. A failure to come to terms with this may explain why, according to a 2018 poll by Crowne Plaza & Resorts, workers waste nearly 13 days each year in ‘unproductive meetings’. Likewise, it is not possible for all employees to be promoted at every juncture. Organisations must prioritise and focus to stay competitive.
On the other hand, a lot of exclusion is mindless. As social animals, we are naturally inclined to allocate power to those we perceive as high-status or part of our in-group. These inclinations often reflect personal biases and social norms, rather than considered judgment. If left unchallenged, the resulting exclusion can lead to misappropriation of authority, insular thinking and, ultimately, suboptimal performance. For those excluded, this can trigger emotional distress —causing a decrease in trust and engagement. In my professional experience, this type of ‘mindless exclusion’ is often at play in dysfunctional teams. What distinguishes them from their high-performing counterparts is not whether they exclude but rather how—for example, who is allocated power, under what circumstances and to what end. The formula for exclusion that guides these decisions may be conscious or unconscious. Nonetheless it functions as a form of cultural DNA, planting the seeds for either synergistic cohesion or unhealthy division.
Diversity as a Litmus Test When mindless exclusion is present at an organisational level, those who face
systemic bias suffer the most. Examining their challenges in accessing power can help us to pinpoint the deeper cultural issues limiting organisational performance.
Examining their challenges in accessing power can help us to pinpoint the deeper cultural issues limiting organisational performance. Thomson Reuters Supplement | 19
Imagine that you have been excluded from a situation or process at work…from contributing to a major decision, or from receiving the promotion you were hoping for. How would you feel? According to the Diversity League Table, published by the Black Solicitor Network, in 2006 women made up 56% of trainees at law firms and 22% of partners. Likewise, ethnic minorities made up 11% of trainees and 4% of partners. Ten years later, efforts to strengthen both pipelines appear to have paid off. As of 2015, women accounted for 63% of trainees and 28% of partners, with ethnic minorities comprising 23% of trainees and 9% of partners. In both cases, the pipeline of talent entering the sector has grown substantially, but the rate of attrition has hardly changed. The leaky nature of this pipeline is clearly a problem. Especially so at a time when PwC’s Annual Law Firm’s Survey 2018 report indicates a ‘shortage of talent’ to be amongst the top four threats that firms face in achieving their growth ambitions. As the managing partner of a prominent UK law firm put it after seeing these statistics: “We need to figure out what is happening to this talent – otherwise we’re losing money!” Evidence of systemic bias is certainly not unique to the legal sector. At CSL, we have conducted a large qualitative study of employee network leaders—including leaders of women’s networks, ethnic minority networks and LGBT+ networks from over 70 organisations across a variety of sectors. When we asked about the objectives and activities of their network, answers consistently fell into four distinct categories. Each category reflects a source of organisational power that network members have been partially excluded from, and which the networks seek to redress: 1. Community This category emphasised the power of connection and the importance
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of psychological safety and shared experiences in facilitating this. Network members often faced challenges that they found difficult to speak about in a normal work setting. This was particularly relevant for LGBT+ employees who were struggling to come out at work. Through the network, members could access a safe forum to discuss the undiscussable and build authentic connections. The common challenges amongst members made it easier to relate to each other and tap into a community of colleagues eager to share information, opportunities and even clients.
This category emphasised the power of organisational narratives and the importance of having a platform to foster appreciation of difference. Network communications and branding were relevant for this category, as well as highlighting role models, applying for awards, and using cultural events to celebrate strand-specific differences.
2. Progression This category emphasised the power of progression and the importance of career development support. It was particularly important for ethnic minority and women’s networks, whose members sometimes struggled to attract senior sponsors or to be selected for mainstream fast-track programmes. If they did not have a strong relationship with their manager, it could also be difficult to discern whether performance feedback was biased. Networks that filled these gaps enhanced their members’ ability to add organisational value.
For each category, the challenge network members faced in accessing power was indicative of deeper cultural issues affecting all employees. For example, according to a 2014 study by Kenji Yoshino and Christie Smith, ‘Uncovering talent: A new model for inclusion’, a majority of employees feel pressure to ‘cover’ part of their identity at work. This includes 45% of straight, white men. A 2018 study by Ahmad, Sabat and King, ‘Research: The upsides of disclosing your religion, sexual orientation, or parental status at work’, indicates that those who reveal their true identities at work are more likely to be liked, trusted and supported. Thus, providing enough psychological safety to meet the needs of diverse groups is likely to facilitate a healthier flow of connections— driving greater team performance and collaboration throughout the organisation.
3. Influence This category emphasised the power of organisational decision-making and the importance of providing channels for employee voice. Focus groups and reverse mentoring were common approaches, enabling network members to sensitise senior leaders to their experience and provide vital customer insight. Women’s networks and LGBT+ networks were the most likely to have affected internal policy.
Likewise, it is not just diverse groups who could benefit from better feedback. CiPD’s 2016 report, Assessing What Works in Performance Management, shows that the practice of regular feedback is a significant predictor of performance amongst all employees, when it is perceived as unbiased. And yet, according to the Law Society’s 2015 Career Satisfaction Survey Report, ‘Rethinking legal career development: How to enhance returns on talent’, only 48% of
employees in the legal sector feel confident they are getting the feedback they need to develop effectively. Thus, raising the standard associated with feedback to meet the needs of diverse groups is likely to facilitate a healthier flow of progression— leading to greater organisational performance.
LGBT+ networks, was the creation of ‘Allies’—which enabled people from the majority to identify with their cause. The presence of ‘Allies’ had an immediate impact of increasing the size of their organisational support base, and thus momentum. This also strengthened the networks’ ability to influence others from the majority, who were more receptive to being challenged by people they could identify with.
Evolving the formula Understanding that challenges with D&I and business performance are interdependent is useful, as it allows us to leverage the best practices of both. Our research with employee networks has revealed a process for evolving the formula for exclusion that resonates with our work transforming senior teams. Here are the three stages: 1. Incubation
Most networks in our study functioned as Incubators—helping members to cope with the effects of bias by providing some version of what they were lacking from the organisation. In doing so, they empowered members to find their voice. However, networks that stopped here risked alienating the majority—aggravating the very biases that were causing the problem.
In order to effect change, employee networks had to also function as ‘translators’—bringing those outside of their strand on a journey alongside them. This was often achieved by hosting events about their strand that were open to everyone. One of the most effective approaches, used by many
3. Cultural change
A few networks from our study took their mandate one step further, functioning as ‘Change Agents’. They helped others to see the interdependency between the challenges their members faced and those of the organisation as a whole. In doing so, their journey became part of a larger organisational imperative. Women’s networks are increasingly doing this by broadening the conversation about flexible working beyond motherhood to include the voice of engaged fathers, carers and, in some cases, others with hobbies they wish to prioritise.
Our transformation work with senior teams mirrors this process. The first stage is to create enough safety for distinct parties to find their voice. This usually involves arranging individual meetings and supporting team members to explore their experiences of mindless exclusion—both as the orchestrator and recipient. We then integrate diverse perspectives. There is a strong relational component, as this part involves cultivating the courage to share unconventional views, the
When mindless exclusion is present at an organisational level, those who face systemic bias suffer the most.
It involves stretching beyond what is normal; taking additional perspectives into consideration in order to develop a sharper formula and become even more focused. openness to listen without reactivity, and the willingness to self-reflect. Key to this stage is equalising the power dynamic and challenging all parties to embrace the unknown. Finally, we support the group in rearticulating a shared vision that transcends prior norms. What were distinct voices must form a new sense of identity that honours their interdependency. As you can see from both examples, the process of mindful exclusion, or excluding with the whole in mind, is an iterative journey rather than an endpoint. It involves stretching beyond what is normal; taking additional perspectives into consideration in order to develop a sharper formula and become even more focused. Now, returning to our original scenario— supposing you have been excluded— what would you need to believe to stay motivated? Most of us would want to know that the decision was guided by common organisational objectives. That the value we bring to the table is understood and respected, and that our interests have been considered. Moreover, in case we still disagree, that those excluding have a regular practice of seeking feedback and evolving their point of view. Under these conditions, we might just still believe that we are all genuinely on the same team. Justine Lutterodt FRSA is the Director of the Centre for Synchronous Leadership.
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Attracting & retaining
the best legal talent The legal industry is notoriously difficult to break into as an aspiring lawyer. Even after securing that crucial first role, climbing the ladder in a law firm or corporate legal department can also be an arduous journey. Thomson Reuters, Legal Insights Europe team, explores some useful findings for law firms.
At a law firm, the most important factor is ‘the firm’s culture,
says Susan Bright, Regional Managing Partner at Hogan Lovells.
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mongst a crowded and competitive market space, organisations face a tough job in recruiting the right candidates from the industry’s vast pool of talent. But in a period of uncertainty, with businesses and law firms operating in an increasingly tumultuous environment—compounded by Brexit—it is more crucial than ever for them to attract the best talent to help navigate through such challenging times. Although, how can an organisation ensure it is an appealing choice among candidates? Can it afford to rely merely on its reputation? Perhaps a big salary will be enough to attract the best? Or, alternatively, are there other factors at play which carry more weight than ever before? The answer: probably a combination of all the above. However, in recent years, other factors have indeed come to fore, and are central in alluring the top talent. At a law firm, the most important factor is ‘the firm’s culture’, says Susan Bright, Regional Managing Partner at Hogan Lovells. Bright believes that while ‘great client relationships, deep industry knowledge, cutting edge regulatory experience, and a focus on innovation is attractive’, so too is a healthy working environment. “A culture that enables diverse teams to thrive and give off their best will help a firm to attract and retain the best talent. We do that by providing world-class training and experience for our lawyers”, says Bright. “Being part of a team in which every individual is encouraged to fulfil
their potential is one of our most attractive offerings as an employer. That also means ensuring that diversity and inclusion (D&I) sit at the core of who we are and how we do business”. The principle of building an open, honest and supportive culture is now high on the agenda for many of the UK’s largest law firms and companies—vying to champion flexible and agile working; sponsorship; training; mentoring; and, ambitious D&I initiatives. Culture as a focus is quite a sensible approach, especially since studies show that more diverse teams make better decisions, are more innovative, improve client satisfaction, and lend to increased revenue. Embedding cultural change is not always straight-forward, and is more effective if seen as a priority by management. Yet, working in legal services can be fiercely fast-paced, and often very pressured—and therefore implementing and maintaining new practices to bring about cultural improvements can take time and continued effort. The consequential impact of such a highly charged industry only emboldens the necessity of placing cultural improvement initiatives higher up the pecking order, which could in turn attract the top talent—as well as retaining them. That’s what Hogan Lovells has done for some time, and has subsequently scooped a slew of awards, including the Disability Progress Award 2018 for its progressive recruiting processes, and has been ranked in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers Workplace Equality Index for eight years running. “Those types of rankings help us
…Overwhelmingly lawyers make their decisions on the chemistry and connection they have with their hiring manager and whether they feel that the company is the best place to take their career forward.
to demonstrate to potential recruits why we are the right place for them to progress their careers”, Bright says. Sarah Ingwersen, Partner, In-House Commerce and Industry, at legal recruitment firm Taylor Root, concurs, adding that overwhelmingly lawyers make their decisions on the chemistry and connection they have with their hiring manager and whether they feel that the company is the best place to take their career forward. An organisation’s culture has big appeal for in-house lawyers, too. There is now an expectation across the legal industry that robust employee support structures are in place, along with agile working practices. This is particularly necessary for junior to mid-level lawyers, Ingwersen says: “It is not just about the money; it’s about the cultural fit and work-life balance—it’s not that these lawyers want to work less but it’s about having that degree of flexibility and career progression prospects.” “Other aspects that junior to mid-level lawyers value highly are mentoring, guidance, support within the team, and the company’s philosophy. It’s those intrinsic elements that are extremely important in attracting the best candidates in a candidate-tight market”, adds Ingwersen. A voice at the table The legal landscape has undergone significant transformation in recent years—meanwhile, recent developments including Brexit and the introduction
of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation have in some cases presented complex challenges for organisations and, as a result, corporate legal departments. Illustrating the value of in-house legal teams, it is not unusual for general counsels (GCs) to have a permanent position on the Board–taking the lead on regulatory and compliance issues, and helping to shape business strategy. This is a ‘very divisive point’ within the GC population at the moment, Ingwersen says. Organisations that offer a position on the Board and a reporting line to the CEO have a greater chance of attracting the strongest talent. “Having that seat at the table and being able to contribute to the strategy of the organisation is of extreme importance to a GC. If they do not sit on the Board and have that voice within an organisation, they often do not feel as empowered to perform their role adequately. When I work on GC assignments one of the first questions I’m asked is ‘who does it report to?’. If it is not the CEO, candidates are generally not interested”, says Ingwersen.
paths, and firms need to offer a variety of opportunities to attract the top talent. Business strategy, knowledge management, HR and the emergence of innovative technology roles are among some of the more favourable destinations for some junior and senior lawyers, and the ‘never-ending stress’ of being a partner is, for some, becoming less of an appealing life-style. “It used to be that every associate of quality aspired to be partner,” says Darryn Hale, Partner, Practice, at Taylor Root. “I do not think that is true anymore. I think they are more conscious about looking up to partner level and seeing that the stress never ends, with the pressure of billing; delivering £1.5m or whatever is might be, which doesn’t go away. “So, it’s about being able to offer that career path [partner] to the people that want it, but to always have defined alternative career paths as well”. Keeping the talent
Equally, guaranteeing a leading strategic role within the organisation is a top requirement for some law firm partners, and when such power is not on offer or has slipped from the grasp—it can sometimes be a driver for them wanting to move on.
Retaining the top talent in the firm can be a tricky job, especially if a lawyer is excelling in their field, they instantly become hot property. A decent salary, generous incremental pay bumps, and bonuses certainly carry some weight to effectuate staff retention.
The new world and influential legal roles
Though, there are a plethora of reasons why people decide to move jobs. In these uncertain times for the legal landscape, keeping the top talent is just as important as attracting.
While lawyers still widely aspire to gain the coveted law firm partnership status, many are looking to other careers
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…It is not unusual for general counsels to have a permanent position on the Board–taking the lead on regulatory and compliance issues, and helping to shape business strategy.
And while offering diverse career paths can be a big incentive for many candidates, a big challenge for firms is keeping staff perpetually engaged with a stimulating workload, and clear scope to progress— and, crucially, develop skills—within the organisation. “Ultimately, when I ask people why they have decided to stay and build their careers here, it often comes down to the quality of work and the culture of our firm. The two are intrinsically linked”, says Bright. “Feedback is also key”, she says, adding that adequate skill development needs to be nurtured—something which is a key focus at Hogan Lovells. “Gone are the days of a set piece annual appraisal. We are investing in our “Pathways” programme, which facilitates a more meaningful, forward looking and continuous flow of feedback to help our people to develop and hone their skills,” says Bright. Additionally, organisations that have an established framework in place to enable
staff to do their job in a flexible and agile environment is a big incentive for many, and is now largely viewed as a key requirement. Flexible and agile working allows staff to successfully carry out their roles and responsibilities—with scope to fit it around the demands of normal day-today modern living. While the expectation is that adequate results are still achieved— the reality is that there is typically improved output and increased job satisfaction— through the ability to meet client demands and achieve work-life balance. Organisations seeking to attract and retain the top talent will be well-positioned to do so by offering diverse career paths, representative of the evolving legal market — but, importantly, within a progressive working culture that enables staff to thrive and develop.
Flexible and agile working allows staff to successfully carry out their roles and responsibilities – with scope to fit it around the demands of normal day-to-day modern living.
Thomson Reuters | Legal Insights Europe.
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Mental Health Law firms & banks pledge to new working practices for better mental health, as Thomson Reuters Legal Insights Europe writes.
ental health has historically been a taboo subject, and individuals have been generally more comfortable only discussing physical differences. However, in recent years the awareness around mental health has accelerated significantly across society, with considerable efforts being made on a global scale to reshape the perception of mental health problems, and in turn eliminate the associated stigma. The legal industry has also started to address mental health issues in the workplace. The profession is renowned for its long hours and high pressure— underpinned by the unrelenting requirement to meet client or business demand. Whether it is a partner in a City firm working around the clock; a high street family lawyer juggling multiple cases; or, an under resourced local government solicitor—the effects of a challenging legal professional career can, in some instances, cause tremendous stress and possibly lead to mental health problems. This phenomenon is not new, it has been happening for generations. However, in recent years, the legal industry is increasing efforts to change the trend by raising the profile of the mental health agenda and make improvements to the working life of legal professionals.
It is not trite to say that a healthy ‘work-life’ balance is a significantly important topic, and properly addressing the work-place culture and practices is at the heart of the needed change.
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Some of the initiatives set up in the industry include the Legal Professions Wellbeing Taskforce, a cross-profession taskforce initiated by The Law Society in partnership with other legal organisations to promote and support mental health in the legal community; and, the City Mental Health Alliance, a coalition of businesses in London, currently chaired by Nigel Jones, Partner at Linklaters. The Alliance is steered by senior leaders striving to create a culture of good mental health for City legal workers, and to share best practices and increase mental health understanding. There are also many law firms and businesses pioneering their own mental health and wellbeing initiatives to increase the awareness around the issue, and provide essential on-site support for employees. Recently law firm Dechert LLP, in its London office, introduced Mental Health Champions and Mental Health First Aiders, which involves a group of employees undergoing mental health training with St John’s Ambulance to enable them to provide support to colleagues who may be struggling with mental health issues. In another positive step in tackling the stigma around mental health in the legal industry, some of the UK’s largest law firms and banks have collaborated in an ‘unprecedented alliance’ to address avoidable working practices that can cause mental health problems and wellbeing issues for employees. Developed by Barclays, Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard, the Mindful Business Charter represents a landmark pledge by cross-industry organisations—based upon a set of core principles including to improve communication, and respect rest periods and the considerate delegation of tasks.
Developed by Barclays, Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard, the Mindful Business Charter represents a landmark pledge by cross-industry organisations – based upon a set of core principles including to improve communication, and respect rest periods and the considerate delegation of tasks.
In recent years, the legal industry is increasing efforts to change the trend by raising the profile of the mental health agenda and make improvements to the working life of legal professionals. At a signing event in October last year, other organisations adopted the Charter and pledged to take the necessary steps to support its principles including: the Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest, HSBC, Ashurst, Baker McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Eversheds Sutherland, Hogan Lovells, and Simmons & Simmons. Stephanie Hamon, Managing Director and Head of External Engagement, Legal, at Barclays, and an Advisory Board Member for Thomson Reuters Transforming Women’s Leadership in the Law programme, said: “Historically UK Legal D&I Committee had lots of success of running initiatives and events to further the dialogue on diversity within Barclays, but this is an opportunity to effect change for the better not only within Barclays but beyond into our panel firms and across the legal industry”. Hamon went on to highlight the significance of the crossindustry collaboration, adding: “This is the first time that a
legal function or its panel of law firms have drawn together a set of principles designed to sustain better mental wellbeing within the workplace. For an industry which has worn its long hours culture as a badge of honour, this recognition of the need to support the long term mental health of colleagues is unprecedented. “The aim of the Mindful Business Charter is to prompt colleagues to think about making small changes to the way they work to reduce instances of avoidable stress in the workplace. By encouraging all colleagues to make small changes to the way they work, then together we can make exponential improvements to our workplace culture”, said Hamon Richard Foley, Senior Partner at Pinsent Masons, added: “Improving mental health and lawyer wellbeing will not happen overnight—it is a programme that will take sustained effort over a number of years. However, this initiative has already been impactful in getting teams to accept we can do things differently and, when we do, health and wellbeing, service quality and delivery will improve. It has also sent a clear message that there is no taboo on the issue, which is a huge first step. “The Charter has been developed in such a way that it is flexible enough to be deployed across a wide range of professional and financial services, not just commercial banks and legal advisers. Our hope is that others will also adopt the Charter over time, leading to an altogether healthier approach to working across the City and beyond”. The launch of the Mindful Business Charter is encouraging, and symbolises further evidence of the legal industry taking the mental health and wellbeing of its employees seriously. It is not trite to say that a healthy ‘work-life’ balance is a significantly important topic, and properly addressing the work-place culture and practices is at the heart of the needed change. Efforts such as the Mindfulness Business Charter signifies a collective desire among the leading professional services organisations to drive change in working practices that can fuel mental health problems. Embedding such change, however, will not be easy—but it is another positive step on what will be a long journey to improving the legal profession. Thomson Reuters | Legal Insights Europe.
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Harassment The scale of the problem facing the legal profession
Kieran Pender, a Legal Advisor in the IBA’s Legal Policy & Research Unit who has been leading the project, spoke to Modern Law, reflecting on the survey and its implications for the legal profession worldwide.
In 2018, the International Bar Association (IBA) launched a global survey into bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession. In May this year, a report detailing the results of this survey will be released. This important research confirms what many have long known—that the legal profession has a problem with bullying and sexual harassment. The survey builds on the IBA’s 2017 Women in Commercial Legal Practice report, which investigated the reasons female lawyers are leaving law firms and the profession. The findings of that survey,
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drawn from the responses of almost 6,000 lawyers globally, found that one in two female respondents had been bullied at work and one in three had been sexually harassed. Among male lawyers, one in three reported that they had been bullied in connection with their employment. The IBA’s current survey has gathered more targeted data on the nature and prevalence of bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession, and its impact on both victims and workplaces.
MLM: What prompted this most recent survey? KP: In June 2017, my predecessor at the IBA received alarming, if not altogether surprising news. She had received the results of a survey we conducted as part of our Women Business Lawyers Initiative. The results indicated startling rates of bullying and sexual harassment in corporate legal workplaces. At that time, she could never have imagined how quickly the landscape would change or how this research would interact with a growing and important movement to prevent harassment at work. In October, as my colleague finalised the report, the New York Times published the first of the allegations of sexual harassment against film producer Harvey Weinstein. What began as one news report snowballed into a global phenomenon. It led to allegations of harassment and abuse being levelled against hundreds of highprofile business people around the world, including several prominent members of the legal profession. The initial findings of our 2017 report, coupled with this growing movement to combat workplace harassment globally, encouraged us to undertake a new survey focusing specifically on bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession. The results of this survey will be a timely reminder to legal professionals that our workplaces are not immune from bullying and harassment.
MLM: What did the survey ask? KP: The anonymous survey was available in six languages (English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French). It gathered demographic data regarding respondents’ jurisdiction, gender, age and workplace. Respondents were asked about anti-bullying and harassment policies and training in their workplaces, and their confidence in these policies and procedures. The survey then gathered data on respondents’ experiences of bullying and sexual harassment in their legal careers. It asked about the form of the conduct, their workplace’s response and the impact of these incidents both for them personally and for their workplace more broadly. Where individuals had
not been subject to bullying or sexual harassment, they were asked whether they had witnessed it occurring to others. While the survey was mainly quantitative, respondents were also given the opportunity to provide (de-identified) qualitative accounts of their experiences.
MLM: Who responded to the survey? KP: When we released our survey last year, we reached out to all IBA individual members, member bar associations and law societies and group member law firms. We were heartened by the response. 6,980 legal professionals from 134 countries responded to the survey, making it the largest-ever global survey on bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession. Respondents came from across the spectrum of legal workplaces: law firms, corporations, barristers’ chambers, governments and the judiciary. They varied in age, gender and position. This relatively representative participation allowed the survey to capture a clearer picture than has been available in the past, as to whom bullying and harassment affect and how this conduct has changed. We believe this high response rate reflects the global legal profession’s commitment to addressing bullying and sexual harassment in our workplaces. We are grateful to all those who took the time to respond, particularly given the impact that reflecting upon these often traumatic experiences can have.
MLM: What do the results suggest about bullying and harassment in the legal profession? KP: Anecdotal evidence has long indicated that bullying and sexual harassment is rife in the legal industry. The survey results provide empirical confirmation of this phenomenon. The data suggests that bullying and sexual harassment is common across all regions and types of legal workplaces. While women and nonbinary respondents are more likely to be affected by both bullying and harassment, this conduct is also affecting a significant number of men in the profession. It is affecting professionals across positions and age groups, although young people are disproportionally impacted. These issues are ongoing, with a considerable
proportion of cases occurring within the past 12 months. Worryingly, the survey indicates that bullying and sexual harassment is persistently underreported, for reasons including the profile of the perpetrator and the victim’s fear of repercussions. Even when incidents are reported, workplaces are failing victims—perpetrators are rarely sanctioned and in many cases the situation remains unchanged. More than half of victims rated their workplace’s response as insufficient or negligible. Those who have been bullied or sexually harassed often change or consider changing workplaces, and some even consider leaving the profession entirely. There were also troubling results concerning the efficacy of policies and training in combatting this conduct.
MLM: What next? KP: These results indicate that change is urgently needed. Bullying and harassment is never permissible, whether inside or outside the workplace. There are compelling moral, legal and business imperatives for the profession to urgently address bullying and sexual harassment. Such conduct is illegal, morally wrong and should not be tolerated in any workplace. Additionally, we are a profession based on integrity and a commitment to the highest ethical standards. This type of conduct is fundamentally at odds with the characteristics of a lawyer. Finally, as the global business community faces up to the allegations that have swept through a range of sectors, they come to us—their lawyers—for guidance and advice. If our house is not in order, how can we hope to achieve meaningful change in other professions?
The results of this survey will be a timely reminder to legal professionals that our workplaces are not immune from bullying and harassment.
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While women and non-binary respondents are more likely to be affected by both bullying and harassment, this conduct is also affecting a significant number of men in the profession.
The time has come for the legal profession to act. Our report will provide recommendations to assist legal workplaces and the profession to combat this issue. Ultimately, it is critical that we continue to have an open dialogue about bullying and sexual harassment and how, individually and together, we can eliminate this conduct from our workplaces. We hope that this survey and the subsequent report can make a modest contribution to affecting this positive change.
MLM: What else are you working on? KP: At the moment, I am also contributing to a project regarding sextortion—a form of corruption in which sex acts, rather than pecuniary benefits, constitute the currency of a bribe. Sextortion, which occurs at the intersection between corruption and sexual coercion, is often overlooked in the discourse surrounding both sexual violence and corruption. The IBA Legal Policy & Research Unit aims to raise awareness of this issue among lawyers and regulators. Further action on sextortion is imperative not only because of the importance of targeting all forms of
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corruption, regardless of the type of bribe received, but also because of the unique and severe impact sextortion can have on victims. Indeed, the IBA’s bullying and sexual harassment survey has highlighted some of the implications of sextortion. One of the forms of sexual harassment identified in the survey—implicit or explicit demands for sexual favours in exchange for employment, promotion, a work opportunity or a favourable performance appraisal—constitutes sextortion. The survey results regarding the implications of this conduct for victims’ careers and mental health reaffirm the importance of combatting this issue at a structural level.
MLM: Where can I learn more about the survey results? KP: A report with more detail regarding the survey and its results will be released on the IBA’s website on 15 May 2019 Events will be held across six continents, launching the report and providing insight into its findings. These events will be co-hosted by the IBA and local bar associations, and will provide targeted insight into the survey data. They will
provide an opportunity for attendees to engage with the IBA and local experts on these issues. The IBA’s global engagement strategy will culminate with a showcase session at our annual conference in Seoul, taking place between 22 and 27 September of this year. We encourage legal professionals to get involved with these events, share the report and use it to consider how we can effectively address bullying and sexual harassment. The IBA will remain committed to tackling bullying, sexual harassment and sexual exploitation wherever it occurs, including in legal workplaces. After the survey results are released, we will continue to work towards achieving a meaningful, long-term reduction in this conduct in the legal profession. Obviously, change won’t happen overnight, but as one survey respondent observed, ‘there should be absolutely no place in this profession, nor any other, for bullies [or harassers]. At the very least, people deserve dignity and a safe, supportive environment in return for their work’. Kieran Pender is the Legal Advisor in the Legal Policy & Research Unit at the International Bar Association.
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