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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Racial equality commitments

Ethnicity

Our commitment to the global call to action on racial equality continues.

We have committed to considering and implementing what concrete actions we can take in response, using the avenues and expertise available to us to see how best we can help and support people and to actively challenge discrimination.

We are working together across our global network of people in Clifford Chance and with others outside the firm to help guide our actions in line with our inclusion strategy of change the rules, change the culture, change the lived experience.

This has led to a significant set of targeted and tailored initiatives aimed at delivering change in those three areas, both in our firm and in wider society, including launching a Racial Justice Award, setting partner targets for ethnicity in the UK and US, and consultations with our Black colleagues on how best to support all of our people. Whilst a lot has been done there remains much more to do.

Realising our values requires a permanent campaign and a commitment to continuously champion the world we want to see. Achieving racial justice will benefit all of us but take each of us to continue our commitment and action.

Change the rules

Initiatives

  • Created a set of guidelines and best practice for external recruiters supporting our organisation. The guidelines reflect our ethnic minority inclusion goals, including recommendations on diversity on shortlists and training. 
  • Launched ethnicity targets for partners, senior associates and management in the UK and US. In the 2023 partner promotions, 38.5% of the new US and UK partners who have disclosed ethnicity identified as under-represented minority ethnic partners. This exceeds the firm's target of 15% of new partners by 2025 for the third year running.
  • Public reporting of promotion rates in the UK and the US, as well as Ethnicity Pay Gap reporting in the UK. We have continued to report on these.

  • Founding signatories to the Race Fairness Commitment, pledging to report on ethnicity recruitment, retention and promotion figures publicly in the UK, view our latest figures.
  • Completed an independent inclusion-focused review of our partnership and implemented the recommendations for change. Hear more about the review in our 'Breaking New Ground' podcast.
  • Developing a talent and career development programme for ethnically diverse colleagues in the UK – progress is continuing with our Global Head of People and Talent.

  • Launched "Unfiltered Conversations" in the Americas, with a focus on topics including the partnership track and the appraisal process to improve transparency, and enable ongoing frank discussions about these important areas.
  • Launched our 1L diversity scholarship for first year law students in the US who are members of groups traditionally underrepresented at large law firms. In 2023, we expanded this to include a 2L diversity scholarship for second year law students, and our first scholar will join us in Fall 2023.

Change the culture

Initiatives

  • Launched the Career Conversations initiative. Led by the UK REACH network, it features speakers and leaders from around the global network, and trainees interview senior representatives on topics such as; strategies to address challenges specifically faced by colleagues of an ethnic minority background, career paths and networking tactics.
  • Partnered with the Black Curriculum, who look at re-imagining the future of education through Black British history, and have developed a series of outreach initiatives with local schools who are part of the Black Curriculum programme.
  • Joined the Stand Against Hate Campaign, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and The Alliance for Asian American Justice in response to the rise of racially motivated hate crimes against Asian Americans in the US. The firm partnered with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association on a pro bono project involving the development of a legal remedies manual for victims of hate crimes.
  • Hosted Big Law Backstage: A Candid Discussion about Diversity, a panel discussion where colleagues shared their personal experiences and provided a truly candid look at what it's like to be diverse in Big Law.

  • Founding board members of Law Firm Antiracism Alliance in the US. The partnership with the LFAA in the US is continuing with several colleagues from Clifford Chance through attendance at annual summit events and involvement in the LFAA Working Groups.
  • Continued to grow our Active Inclusion training series, including sessions on Speaking Up for all staff and targeted inclusion sessions for key decision makers.
  • Closing US offices on Juneteenth to provide employees time to celebrate the emancipation of African Americans from slavery in the US and reflect on further changes still to be made to achieve racial equality. In 2022 this included a leadership workshop on Advocacy and Allyship. This year, we are hosting a program titled "Juneteenth: Celebrating and Commemorating Freedom Days" with Professor Fredara Hadley, ethnomusicology professor at The Julliard School.
  • Launched the Clifford Chance Reconciliation Action Plan in Australia which will assist us to create a workplace culture that understands and respects the histories and contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to society.

  • Presented an international Racial Justice Award to Columbia Law School's Center for Institutional and Social Change. The Award provided 500 hours of pro bono legal support and £50,000. Clifford Chance continues its partnership and pro bono support of the Columbia Law School Center for Institutional and Social Change, Paralegal Pathways Initiative.
  • Our annual program, the Thought Leadership Initiative on Diversity in the Legal Profession at Columbia University School of Law. This initiative has two components; support of the scholarly research of Columbia Law School faculty members examining diversity and its implications within the legal community; and delivery of an annual lecture series to showcase the results of the research fund and address the issue of diversity in the legal field. Recent lectures include “Challenges in Regulating Artificial Intelligence” and “Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom.”
  • Campaigns and events organised globally to raise the profile of discussions around race, ethnicity, equality and celebrating heritage including World Cultural Day for Diversity, National Reconciliation Week, Black History Months and Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, South Asian History Month, Lunar New Year and celebrations of specific faith days of importance.
  • Collated a Racial Justice Resource pack to guide allies on educational resources to listen and learn from different experiences of Black and ethnic minority people globally in society.

Change the lived experience

Initiatives

  • Collaborated with five law firms in launching the Black Equity Organisation, a new national and independent civil rights group created to advance justice and equity for Black people in Britain.
  • Promoting accessibility into the law for underrepresented demographics including ethnic minorities or from lower socio-economic backgrounds through our scholarship in the Continental Europe region.
  • Continued our partnership with RARE Recruitment in the UK, to promote our trainee programme to students who are from ethnic minorities or underrepresented in our firm.
  • Continuing to implement recommendations from external expert research carried out in 2021/22 to understand the differences in career experiences with a lens on ethnicity.
  • Established a programme of race fluency sessions with lawyers and business professionals of all levels in the UK with the aim of encouraging confidence in talking about race and ethnicity.

  • Providing financial support through the Clifford Chance Foundation to various organisations focussed on race equality including British Asian Trust and the Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
  • Expanded Black History Month and cultural heritage events to the Middle East region which are providing platforms for our people and clients to celebrate diversity and enhance our inclusive culture.
  • Becoming an employer founder to the Black Gen Z 2022 Research Report  tracking the experiences of Black British Gen Z people entering the workforce today in the UK.
  • Development of our award-winning global ethnicity reverse mentoring program.

 

  • Launch of new REACH (Race Equality and Celebrating Heritage) networks across our offices in Continental Europe, Delhi, Middle East and Australia. REACH and other race equality affinity networks are now active across all five regions that Clifford Chance operates.
  • Signed up to the Halo Code in the UK which supports Black colleagues who come to work with natural and protective Afro-hairstyles.
  • Partnering with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Center for Common Ground on non partisan volunteer efforts around US elections.
  • Continuing our major pro-bono and community outreach initiatives focused on dismantling legal barriers to racial justice.

Inclusion at Clifford Chance

At Clifford Chance we see inclusion as a core value of the firm and also of the law.

We understand that diversity and inclusion are good for our staff and their families, our firm and our clients, and society. We believe that to help achieve these values we have to be champions of, and campaigners for them across our firm, with our clients, and in the world.

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