A targeted approach to inclusion
Ferdinando Poscio, Partner and Head of Arcus in Milan outlines the impact of the firm's global and regional inclusion targets on the Italian team's inclusion work.
I was excited by the launch of the firm’s global and regional gender, ethnicity and LGBT+ targets and our renewed commitment to inclusion, diversity and equality of opportunity across the firm, as it’s an issue that is so close to my heart, both personally and professionally.
Over the last 18 years at Clifford Chance, I have worked with colleagues on many responsible business initiatives, both within and beyond our Italian offices. Through the firm’s LGBT+ network Arcus, we introduced training programmes for the senior management team, partners and associates and we have just carried out a survey in collaboration with Parks Diversity, an NGO that helps companies secure the benefits of diversity, by assessing attitudes towards and understanding of the LGBT+ community and then identifying areas of improvement.
Additionally, our pro bono team works with local NGOs, municipalities and schools on specific projects. For example, our lawyers and business professionals provided training for immigrants about the Italian constitution and writing CVs and preparing for job interviews.
The launch of the regional targets has fueled our commitment to inclusion and allowed us to engage with more colleagues. The targets serve as important reminders that creating diverse and inclusive environments is not a time-limited goal that we put to one side once achieved, but rather a continuous process that showcases the lived experiences of others.
We have revamped the office’s diversity and inclusion strategy and created new working groups, made up of partners, counsels, associates and business professionals, that reviewed existing internal policies to prioritise the promotion of gender parity, LGBT+ rights, minority and ethnic equality.
We have made significant strides in these areas and have partnered with social enterprise Fondazione Libellula to help raise awareness of gender issues and gender-based violence through the delivery of interactive workshops on gender stereotypes, which was specifically devised after an internal survey on gender parity. We also implemented reverse mentoring programs with specific focus on gender parity and LGBT+ rights. Similarly, we have launched the Italian chapter of the firm’s network for advancing Race Equality and Celebrating Heritage (REACH), which is finalising its initiatives and targets to support students and applicants from ethnic or disadvantaged backgrounds.
The launch of the targets and resulting enthusiasm reiterated my belief that diversity is the cornerstone of inclusive and productive workplaces and communities. As a gay man and father, I believe that it’s important that future generations understand that everyone must have equal rights and opportunities regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or any other specific feature.
As a leading law firm and a group of successful professionals, we have a moral obligation to challenge the status quo, be positive role models and change the rules, culture and lived experiences to create more inclusive workplaces.