Diversity and inclusion
Sackers is committed to providing a working environment which values equality, diversity and inclusion.
We are fully committed to the elimination of unlawful and unfair discrimination and value the differences that a diverse workforce brings to the organisation. We are proud to be a signatory of the Law Society’s Diversity & Inclusion Charter, which demonstrates our commitment to promoting the values of equality and diversity in the legal profession throughout our firm.
We do not discriminate because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race (which includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation or any other irrelevant factor. Diversity and inclusion is a longstanding part of our culture. We believe passionately that our staff will be most successful when they bring their authentic selves to work and that, in turn, our firm and its client offering will be successful too.
We have a Diversity & Inclusion Committee which is championed by three partners. The committee meets regularly to ensure our policies and practices are kept under review, and to identify areas of priority, so that we can continue to improve our employment offering.
What this means
We create a working environment that allows women to progress. When benchmarked against comparable law firms, we have a high female representation, particularly at senior level. Almost 60% of our partners and 65% of our fee earners are female.
There is an emphasis on enabling staff to have a good work-life balance. We are supportive of staff working flexibly, with 50% of partners and more than 30% of our associates and business services staff in a flexible working arrangement. Staff work flexibly for a variety of reasons including caring responsibilities, enabling them to observe different faiths, and to take time out of their working week to do something for themselves.
Many of our employees are working parents or have other caring responsibilities. The firm has a number of family friendly policies in place. These include enhancements to maternity, paternity and shared parental leave/pay provisions, business coaching for lawyers returning from maternity leave and an internal maternity mentoring programme. You can read James’ story here of taking Shared Parental Leave to spend time with his daughter.
We support employees with disabilities/medical conditions and make appropriate adjustments to support them in their roles.
We are committed to establishing and maintaining a workplace environment that promotes the mental wellbeing of all staff and treats mental health with equal importance as physical health. We have Mental Health First Aid Champions whose responsibility it is to help boost understanding of mental health issues at work and to support anyone who is going through some form of mental health issue. Staff can also access private and confidential counselling through the firm’s Employee Assistance Programme. We provide a range of benefits to support general health and wellbeing including daily free fruit, weekly Pilates classes and free massages. We have also organised a number of initiatives to help boost wellbeing, such as “Take Two” and “Tea and Talk”. You can read Amanda’s story here on her experience of living with and managing her mental health issues.
Research has shown that socio economic background affects progression to partner. 62% of our partners attended a state school (which is 15% more than in other city firms) and 38% attended private school, which represents good socio-economic diversity amongst the partner population. We are sponsors of The Law Society’s Diversity Access scheme, which provides funding for the LPC as well as mentoring and work experience opportunities for students who have experienced barriers to entering the legal profession. We have also worked alongside social mobility charities to provide apprenticeship opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We support a range of CSR activities which includes our participation over a number of years in the Tower Hamlets Head to Head Interview Programme, which enables members of the firm to engage with students from less advantaged backgrounds and develop their career aspirations. More recently we have partnered with educational charity Young Citizens to get involved in their Experts in Law programme. You can read Emily’s blog here on her involvement in the programme.
We recognise that there is an underrepresentation of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) lawyers both within our firm and more widely, with just 21% of lawyers working in England and Wales from BAME backgrounds. We are looking at different ways to get involved in initiatives that help to tackle racial inequality and to give greater access for BAME people to enter the legal profession. We are current sponsors of the Law Society Diversity Access Scheme, which primarily focuses on increasing social mobility, but also addresses ethnicity, with 70% of applicants and 60% of the successful awardees from BAME backgrounds. We also provide mentoring to students through Black Interns Matter, a programme which looks to address the issue of underrepresentation of black people in the legal profession. You can read more here: Black Interns Matter.
We have a friendly and open collegiate culture where people at all levels of the firm are approachable. People are respectful towards their colleagues and we put considerable effort into ensuring that the working environment is pleasant for everyone and for people to feel that they can be themselves at work. We are proud of the recognition that we have received through our different awards, including being highly commended for supporting diversity at the Women in Pensions Awards 2019 and being awarded Best Companies accreditation in 2019. We have also received Top UK Employer certification by the Top Employers Institute for eleven consecutive years in recognition of our exceptional working conditions and talent development.
We want everyone at Sackers to be themselves when they come to work and we celebrate our LGBT diversity at the firm. We have formed relationships with external networks including O:Pen, which is an inclusive organisation open to professionals working in pensions who believe in the importance of promoting and celebrating LGBT diversity and inclusion within the industry. You can read our senior partner’s story here about his personal journey of coming out and the importance of being able to live an honest life.