Staff networks

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

Balance

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. 

This network has hosted events on work-life balance and caring responsibilities. They have made recommendations around agile working and have supported the adoption of the firms new agile working policy.

This year we also won the Best for Mothers award at the recent Working Families Best Practice Awards 2022. We have been working hard to ensure our parents have the best possible experience when they take parental leave and on their return to work; including a coaching programme and a parental leave network made up of parents keen to support new parents returning to work.

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 firm launched the Conversations about Race programme. This programme is an important part of our progress in relation to building a more representative partnership. The first part of the programme comprises five short videos featuring members of our Policy Committee and external experts.

There is also a focus on marking religious and cultural events and recently the network hosted a Eid-al-Fitr lunch to commemorate the end of Ramadan. This was an opportunity to celebrate with colleagues from across the firm whilst enjoying a delicious feast of food 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.

Our adjustments policy highlights our commitment to supporting disabled employees, and employees who need additional support on a short or long-term basis, through the implementation of workplace adjustments. The firm understands that disabilities and other circumstances affecting a person’s physical and/or mental health can impact people at work in a wide range of ways and we want to ensure all employees have the support they need working at Macfarlanes. There are a variety of adjustments we make for our employees such as physical adjustments to working environments, assistive IT software installed onto devices and adjustments made to other areas such as working patterns.

To mark Neurodiversity Week in March, Daniel Aherne of neurodiversity specialists Adjust held a webinar to raise awareness of neurodiversity, including conditions such as dyslexia, autism, ADD and ADHD. One of our associates, and one of our colleagues in business services kindly shared their experiences of having a neurodiverse condition, how they were diagnosed and the support they have received at Macfarlanes. We also held a panel event during Mental Health Awareness Week this year, where our colleagues shared their mental health journeys and the support they received from the firm.

Pride

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.

This year, the network marked LGBT history month by profiling members of the Pride steering committee, who shared their experiences of ‘coming out’ at work. During Pride month we also hosted a talk delivered by Micro Rainbow – a charity that supports LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and refugees. The charity discussed the challenges LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and refugees face in their daily lives as well as how the charity supports LGBT+ refugees to integrate back into society

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.

The Green Network

Macfarlanes is fully committed to reducing the negative environmental impact of our business operations and the continual improvement in our environmental performance. The Green Network is a network for all staff that care about sustainability and the environment, including those who want to actively support the aims and objectives in our ambitious new environmental policy.

The policy includes commitments covering our carbon footprint; emissions; waste; recycling; sustainable procurement of goods and services; office greenery and support for the legal sustainability community. We think that these commitments represent best practice for the legal sector. We have partnered with OLIO – a food sharing platform, to ensure that any surplus food (including prepared food) is given to local low income families, rather than thrown away.

We are members of the Legal Sustainability Alliance (LSA), a group of nearly 180 UK law firms committed to improving the sustainability of their operations and working together to improve sustainability within the legal sector as a whole.