Pride: Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (more workplaces like Sackers)

Gay Pride means a lot of different things to me, but one of the most important is the impetus that it gives me each year to pause and reflect.  Often, I think about the LGBTQ+ community’s past struggles for equality which have allowed me, a cisgender gay man, to live a life where I’ve rarely experienced intolerance.  However, time for reflection also enables me to consider the work that still needs to be done.

We recently enjoyed a Sackers outing to the ABBA Voyage show.  Looking around at colleagues singing and dancing along merrily to holograms belting out ABBA’s hits, I appreciated afresh how inclusive and welcoming a place Sackers is to work.

For those who don’t know us well, Sackers is a modestly sized firm of just over 100 people.  This includes 65 lawyers whose sole focus is providing the full suite of legal advice to the pensions and retirement savings industry.  I think that our area of specialism can lead to a misconception that we may be a stuffy, backwards looking firm (it certainly does when I am asked what I do at social occasions!) but, having spent nearly a decade here, that couldn’t be further from my experience.

Given our size, we don’t have networks for each strand of diversity and inclusion.  Instead, our D&I initiatives are led by a central committee which is made up of a cross-section of lawyers and non-lawyers from across the firm.  These initiatives are supported by members of the firm’s Social and Corporate Social Responsibility committees.  This firmwide approach to D&I means that our activities are truly inclusive and available to be enjoyed by all.  Recent well-attended events that demonstrate this included:

  • a session on trans and non-binary inclusion
  • the former rugby player, Gareth Thomas, talking to us about his experiences coming out in the media glare.

Whilst we don’t have our own LGBTQ+ society, around 20% of associates at Sackers identify as L, G or B and a large contingent of us regularly attend, and are involved with, events hosted by industry-wide organisations.  These include O:pen, the pensions sector LGBTQ+ network, and InterLaw Diversity Forum, a group for all LGBTQ+ people in the legal sector.

In 2022, Sackers was proud to become the first, and currently still the only, law firm member of LGBT Great.  This is a global community for organisations in the financial services and pensions industry.  As part of our membership we benefit from:

  • regular D&I focused training sessions and webinars
  • guidance from professionals whose sole focus is improving the experience of LGBTQ+ individuals in the workplace
  • insights from other organisations in the industry (including many of our clients and their other advisers)
  • the opportunity for colleagues of all levels to participate in a mentoring scheme.

We were also delighted that LGBT Great awarded us a silver standard in our first year participating in its Inclusion Index Benchmarking Tool!  Taking part in this survey helped us to identify areas for future development in our D&I strategy as we realise that there’s always more that we can do.

Of course, these LGBTQ+ initiatives are only part of the story.  One of the main reasons that many of us value Sackers so much, and why the firm’s retention rates are so high, meaning that clients benefit from a true continuity of service and knowledge, is that we’re made to feel comfortable by colleagues to bring our whole selves to work.  Colleagues and clients alike get to see, and know, the real “us” over periods of many years.

Whilst looking down at my flares and feeling the pinch of a too-tight flower headband (I’ll let you decide whether they were fancy dress for the ABBA show or not…), I reflected on how rare it is to find a place, whether that be a City law firm or in the wider world, where everyone is celebrated and provided with the opportunity to be themselves.  Happy Pride!

< Back to blog