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.
The Eagles programme is a flagship social mobility programme which the charity East London Business Alliance established 15 years ago in response to record levels of underemployment in East London. The aim of Eagles is to identify and develop exceptional talent that has been overlooked, often because of background, and to encourage businesses to seek new talent in places they would not normally look. In 2020, we hired our first Eagle. Here’s Ajmin’s story. Other members of our Inclusion & CSR team were also Eagles, read Uma’s story.
Partnership targets action plan
This year the firm announced updated gender and ethnicity partner targets for 2026 and 2030. The firm also published a five step action plan which provides the framework by which we intend to achieve these partnership targets, as well as an ongoing process for monitoring progress. A summary of the action plan is available here. These actions, together with all of the other steps that are underway at the firm, ensure that we continue to develop both the strength of our culture and an inclusive environment.
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 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.
DAWN (Disability and wellbeing network)
The DAWN network is a forum that focuses on the mental health and wellbeing of all of those at Macfarlanes and also offers support to staff who have direct experience of or support others with disabilities, neurodiverse conditions and other long and short term conditions.
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 ran a campaign featuring profiles of their LGBT+ heroes and the importance of allyship. This year, for LGBT+ History Month, the network provided an insight into the HIV virus, with references to the current pandemic, including hearing from the Terrance Higgins Trust and Jill Nalder, an HIV/AIDS activist and the inspiration behind a character in the recent TV drama, It’s a Sin.
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 associate scheme, every associate 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.