We are committed to fostering an inclusive culture throughout the firm, from entry level to partnership. It is about recruiting, retaining and promoting all groups in the firm fairly, and we have invested in our processes to ensure that everyone has the same chance to develop and advance. An inclusive, forward-thinking culture also enables us to provide innovative solutions to our clients.

Current areas of focus include:

Gender imbalance in senior roles

Recently we delivered a bespoke career progression programme open to all of our female solicitors – the Female Lawyers Forum. Five plenary sessions covering practical elements of career development were held every two months, delivered by our female partners and an external consultant. In the intervening months, smaller groups met to discuss and share insights. At the start of each plenary one of the senior management team provided an update on organisational changes occurring. The final plenary included two important female clients, together with female partners, to provide the client perspective.

We have also been members of the 30% Club's Professional Services Firms' initiative for a number of years (the 30% Club was established with the aim of having 30% women on every FTSE-100 board). This initiative assesses the specific challenges for professional services firms and is devising new collaborative actions to accelerate progress across the profession. All four year PQE female solicitors and business services’ managers across the firm are able to participate as mentees and some of our partners and heads of business services participate as mentors in the annual cross company mentoring scheme.


We encourage an environment where the culture and ethnicity of every person can be celebrated, enabling them to flourish and thrive.

We work with a number of organisations to ensure that we are recruiting from a diverse pool of candidates; this includes working closely with organisations such as Rare Recruitment and Bright Network to attract training contract and vacation scheme applications from young people from black and ethnic minority (BME) communities.

Macfarlanes was also one of the first signatories to Rare Recruitment’s Contextual Recruitment System which enables us to understand the context of a candidate’s experiences and qualifications. This is a helpful tool because it shows a candidate’s A-Level grades against the average for their school, as well as other social mobility factors, thereby helping to level the playing field between candidates from different backgrounds. 

We have also worked with an external BME solicitor and career coach to deliver an initiative for all of our BME solicitors. This was an opportunity to share experiences and make recommendations on what more the firm can do to encourage an inclusive culture. As a result, we have implemented a number of new initiatives, including the development of a new religious and cultural events calendar, increasing the frequency of internal cultural events at the firm; and implementing a BME reverse mentoring programme facilitated by Afua Hirsch.

Last year, partner Jat Bains won the Investing in Ethnicity Workplace Hero award. Jat was recognised as a dedicated member of the firm’s Diversity Committee, the Trainee Solicitor Committee and a partner champion of the BME & friends staff network. Macfarlanes was also named as a top 10 outstanding employer for investing in ethnicity.

It is about recruiting, retaining and promoting all groups in the firm fairly, and we have spent a lot of time reviewing our processes to ensure that everyone has the same chance to develop and advance.
Louise Zekaria Head of Inclusion and CSR

Social mobility

We have adapted our recruitment processes to ensure that we recruit the best candidates regardless of their background. In addition to the Rare Recruitment’s contextual recruitment tool, we were one of the first law firms to ensure that the vast majority of our assessment processes for both our vacation schemes and training contracts are scored CV blind. This means that part of a candidate’s assessment is based on their actual performance on the day, which we believe promotes greater fairness.

We are working with Aspiring Solicitors and upReach to better enable us to reach students from a variety of backgrounds across a broad spread of universities. See our graduate recruitment pages for more information on these initiatives.

Staff networks

We have four staff-led networks which provide opportunities for social interaction, peer support and personal development. Partners and business services heads co-chair these networks.


The Balance network is a forum for all staff managing careers and home lives, enabling discussion, support and the exchange of information and ideas, to achieve a balance of opportunity for all. 

2019 marked the first 100 years that women have been able to practice law. To mark the occasion, the Balance network supported the 'First 100 Years project' and hosted an inspirational evening of conversation with Clare Montgomery QC.

Recently, this network has hosted events on work-life balance and caring responsibilities. They also make recommendations around agile working.

REACH (race, ethnicity and cultural heritage)

The REACH staff network is a forum for networking and peer support between ethnic minority staff and allies, which enables the sharing and exchange of relevant information and ideas.

Last year, the network hosted a series of events to mark Black History Month including an evening with David Lammy MP and a panel discussion and speed mentoring event with Generation Success.

There is also a focus on marking religious and cultural events and recently the network hosted a lunch to celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, a Diwali tea and a Purim party. These were open to everyone at the firm, with delicious foods from around the world.


The EnABLE network is a forum to offer support to staff who have direct experience of or support others with; neurodiverse conditions, long term health conditions, disabilities and mental health.

Recently, the network held an InterLaw panel event discussing neurodiversity and autism with three experts in the field, who shared their insights and experiences and assisted with the publication of new firm wide guidance on supporting colleagues with neurodiverse conditions.

Pride network

The Pride network is a forum for networking and peer support, open to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, to inform staff on LGBT action and to communicate information to colleagues interested in LGBT matters.

Last year, the Pride network celebrated Pride month by hosting a rainbow themed Macsocial for everyone at the firm. This featured rainbow cocktails, food and decoration. We also hosted our first ever client event at Six Storeys in Soho.

This year, the network marked LGBT history month with a digital campaign featuring profiles of their LGBT heroes. Additionally, we ran a campaign focused on the importance of allyship.

We are members of Stonewall, the UK's leading lesbian, gay and bisexual charity and part of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme which is the UK's good practice forum for LGBT issues in the workplace. We are also active members of the InterLaw Diversity Forum.


In addition to providing excellent on-the-job training, particularly through working on partner-led teams, we offer extensive legal education and training and professional skills programmes. 

We also have a firm-wide mentoring scheme. Under the solicitor scheme, every solicitor is paired with a partner from the same practice area (or they can specify a partner of a specific gender, background or from outside their practice area).  It is a fantastic opportunity to receive regular advice and support from a designated partner. As well as a business services development programme, the firm has also implemented a new mentoring scheme for business services staff, secretaries and legal assistants to enable junior business services staff to access guidance from more experienced colleagues.


Macfarlanes is committed to the long-term health and wellbeing of all its staff and partners of the firm.

We aim to create a positive working environment where everyone thrives. Whether it’s a friendly catch up or providing information about our free confidential counselling, colleagues from across the firm will work together to support you and liaise as appropriate with medical professionals with the object of helping you maintain good physiological and psychological health.

We have a ‘wellbeing hub’ which brings together all of our wellbeing initiatives that promote the importance of your physical, financial, emotional and social wellbeing. We also run a range of year-round events designed to raise awareness of health and lifestyle issues affecting mental health and wellbeing. Recent topics have included building resilience, sleep, and nutrition. Regular pension and mortgage clinics are run at the firm by external providers.

Everyone at Macfarlanes is encouraged to access all of the wellbeing resources and support provided by the firm. Further to this, the firm is a cornerstone sponsor of Cityparents and all staff have access to a programme of seminars aimed at helping working parents. We also offer parental transition coaching to new parents. 

We are an equal opportunity employer and if you believe that there are aspects of the recruitment process or job that you anticipate might be difficult for you due to a disability or long term health condition, please contact the Recruitment team as soon as possible and they will be happy to discuss any reasonable adjustments that can be made.

In recognition of our role in setting up the Reignite Academy (in collaboration with five other law firms), Macfarlanes won the Diversity and Inclusion category at the FT Innovative Lawyer Awards 2019. The Reignite Academy helps lawyers, particularly women, return to work in law firms after an extended career break.
We were ranked first in the legal sector in the My Family Care Parental Leave Policy & Reward Benchmark 2019. 250 companies provided details of their current policies and benefits for maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental leave.

Our diversity statistics

We collect diversity data about our employees and partners annually. View our most recent statistics.

Click here to view some of our highlights from 2019.

Download our 2019 pay gap report which includes both statutory and additional reporting.