An inclusive and inspirational culture fosters high performance: mixed teams make the best business decisions.
At BLP we aim to create an environment where all our employees are valued, motivated and able to be themselves, whatever their differences might be.
Our employment practices and policies are designed to provide a framework which makes our values and expectations clear, delivers fairness and consistency of approach, whilst also allowing for the individuality of our people.
We value the power of teamwork and cooperation, and place great emphasis on the benefits this provides to both the individual and the firm.
Our new Inclusivity strategy, launched in 2015, has five areas of focus; Culture, Family, Gender Representation, Lesbian Gay, Bisexual & Transgender and Social Inclusion & Ethnicity. It’s important to BLP that whatever we do, we do it well and so the list was selectively chosen. Each of the five areas have a task-group who meet regularly to discuss relevant issues and push things forward with a variety of events and initiatives.
Our culture fundamentally underpins all of the other areas of our Inclusivity strategy. We need an environment where employees feel comfortable and able to be themselves, in order to make progress. All employees will be accountable for fostering a diverse and inclusive culture, with all partners and line managers leading by example.
The Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion is the UK's leading employer network covering all aspects of equality and inclusion issues in the workplace. Their six strategic themes are: access to opportunities, agile working, the global marketplace, inclusive leadership, workforce representation and unconscious bias.
The Charter was established in 2009 by the Law Society, BT and the Society of Asian Lawyers, with the purpose of helping practices turn their commitment to diversity and inclusion into positive, practical action for their businesses, staff and clients. It is a public commitment by legal practices to promote the values of diversity, equality and inclusion throughout their business. BLP received a gold awarding in the most recent assessment.
At BLP we recognise that family-life and working-life are not mutually exclusive. We have working practices that are supportive of individuals life and family.
We are partner members of the work-life balance charity “Working Families”, which helps working parents and carers and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and work. We work closely with them to ensure we promote a workplace culture which supports work-life balance and flexible working for all working people.
The APS aims to provide guidance and tips to same-sex and heterosexual couples, plus single men and women, on how to best to support their family. This includes advice from leading experts on how to navigate the complexities of having a child as well as legal provisions, surrogacy, fertility, co-parenting, fostering and adoption.
Since September 2015 we have hosted a series of talks relating to key family issues, such as; Dealing with Dementia, Coping with Cancer, Raising Resilient Children, Practical Tips for Managing Exam Stress; Coping with Bereavement; Managing ‘The Party Scene’ for teenage children, and The Practicalities of Eldercare.
We run an annual ‘Festive Family Afternoon’ in December each year. This is a chance for BLP employees to bring their children into the office and take part in Christmas activities. Over 130 children have attended the day each year since the inaugural event in 2015. Kate Ison (Senior Associate, Corporate Tax) said “My three daughters all had a wonderful time; my four year old told me ‘it was the best day of her life!!”. Bruce Braude (Head of Strategic Client Technology) said “My kids loved it. They were so excited to see where I work and really enjoyed all the activities. Every day my kids simply see me go off to this thing called “work” and then return in the evening. It was a great opportunity for them to contextualise it (although I did have to explain that there aren’t activities and entertainment every day).”
We are committed to increasing the number of women in senior management roles, pitch and project teams and firm-wide committees. Our target is to achieve 30% female representation in the UK partnership by the end of 2018, and more female partners globally.
Opportunity Now is a campaign on gender diversity from Business in the Community. Opportunity Now aims to increase women's success at work and they have three aims: a better gender balance for leadership progression, unbiased recognition and reward for all, and agile work cultures that are fit for the future.
We are one of the founding sponsors of this organisation, who provide women with assistance to help them secure Board/Director roles.
We have had an active LGBT group in place since 2007 and use various internal and external events and initiatives to raise awareness and educate all employees about our LGBT community.
Stonewall aim to achieve equality and justice for lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people. BLP are members of the Diversity Champions programme which is Britain's good practice employers' forum on sexual orientation and gender identity equality, diversity and inclusion.
The InterLaw Diversity Forum for LGBT Networks is an inter-organisational forum for the LGBT networks in law firms and all LGBT people in the legal sector, including in-house counsel. It’s overall objective is to encourage LGBT diversity and inclusion across the sector.
DiversCity is a unique recruitment event and mentoring scheme aimed at raising awareness of pursuing a legal career in the City amongst LGBT students and graduates. It was launched in 2011 and is the brainchild of BLP and Herbert Smith Freehills. 14 other City law firms now take part. Applications are now open for our 2017 programme.
In 2016, BLP launched AuthentiCity, bringing together some of the biggest organisations in UK business to provide LGBT students with a taster of what life is like at a City organisation, whilst also providing the opportunity to receive expert advice on a number of different careers. For more information, visit the AuthentiCity website.
Having a diverse workforce, with a mix of people at all levels, in all departments, is incredibly important. This is why we are trying hard to encourage upward social mobility both within and outside of the legal profession.
In-line with PRIME, an alliance of law firms and legal departments across the UK who have committed to broaden access into the legal profession, BLP run the Career Kick-Start Work Experience programme which provides approximately 20 one-week work experience places year 12 students from less privileged backgrounds. We also host an open day for approximately 80 students, who we can’t accommodate onto the programme, to provide them with an insight into a legal career. For more information contact email@example.com
We have joined the Legal Social Mobility Partnership initiative to provide a second week of work experience for the Career Kick-Start work experience programme, visiting a different commercial organisation each day.
The Social Mobility Foundation aims to introduce the brightest school students from low-income backgrounds to the professional or business life in time for them to make informed choices for higher education. The objective is to broaden the horizons of bright young people by providing them with a real insight into the higher echelons of business and the professions.
The Brokerage is an independent charity working in partnership with City employers to create a pathway to employment in the City for young residents of London’s inner-city boroughs. We provide volunteers and host various workshops for students to introduce them to working in the City. We hosted their first City Business Competition back in November 2013.
BLP has been named one of the top 10 most LGBT* inclusive places to work in the UK, in Stonewall’s 2018 Workplace Equality Index (WEI). The Stonewall Top 100 Employers are the best performing employers on this annual cross-sector audit of UK workplace culture for LGBT* staff.
BLP placed 7th in the ranking, rising from 8th last year and 102nd in 2016, in a submission round that saw over 400 employers taking part. Additionally BLP has also been listed in Stonewall’s highly commended network group section for the Top 100 in 2018.
BLP has been named in the inaugural Stonewall Top Trans Employer category which comprises a shortlist of 11 national organisations who have demonstrated commitment and achievements towards trans inclusion.
BLP were specifically commended for market-leading practices, such as introducing gender-neutral bathrooms, their reverse mentoring programme, and joint initiatives with competitors and clients to promote inclusion in the sector and beyond.
BLP was ranked as the 7th most inclusive UK employer in the 2017 Inclusive Top 50 rankings, the highest placing of any law firm. The ranking rewards the outstanding efforts of organisations to reinforce their commitment to attracting and retaining a truly diverse workforce, achieving equality, diversity and inclusion. A dedicated panel of judges compiled the list, scoring organisations based on their performance on a range of areas within the diversity arena.
BLP puts Diversity & Inclusion at the core part of its Firmwide strategy, and has active Culture, Disability, Family, Gender Representation, LGBT* and Social Inclusion and Ethnicity networks.
Claire England, Head of Diversity & Inclusivity, said: “it is great to be recognised as one of The Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers, we have worked hard in the last couple of years to continue to foster an inclusive workplace. We are thrilled to be recognised externally for this our efforts, particularly in an index with some prestigious organisations from both within our sector and elsewhere.”
BLP has been named as an employer leading the way in building flexible, family friendly UK workplaces. Employers large and small from many sectors compete annually to gain a place on the list of Top Employers for working families.
The list is compiled by work life balance charity Working Families. Employers answer in-depth questions and are scored on key areas to build a comprehensive picture of their flexible and family friendly working environment.
Sarah Jackson OBE, Chief Executive of Working Families, said:
"Congratulations to BLP whose flexible, agile approach has earned them a much-coveted place on 2017’s list of Top 30 Employers for Working Families. The annual benchmark provides a clear picture, not just of current practice, but also the evolving way in which organisations think about work life balance and flexible working".
BLP was the top-ranked law firm in the first ever Social Mobility Employer Index in association with The Times newspaper. The ranking assesses organisations on their social mobility efforts across a range of different areas including outreach to schools, work experience, mentoring and opportunities for school leavers.
Placing 8th out of nearly 100 submitting businesses, we were commended for our work experience and apprenticeship programmes.
BLP won the Top Employer Award for Best for Dads in 2017, sponsored by M&G Investments, for the conscious and deliberate attempt to promote family friendly working for all. This included a broad range of policies for supporting dads, such as the positive promotion of Shared Parental Leave, good support networks for dads, including gay parents, and paternity coaching. There was also good evidence of strong role models in the senior leadership team.
In 2016, BLP won the “Talent Attraction” award for flexible recruitment policies, which included being upfront about flexible working in job adverts and the firm’s pilot of home-based working in a sector not traditionally known for flexibility.
Our Social Inclusion and Ethnicity task-group were keen to address the lack of African-Caribbean representation, not just at BLP but throughout the legal profession. They wanted to openly address what is often deemed a sensitive topic; to be trailblazers in an area which has previously been overlooked. They therefore planned an event for African-Caribbean students and graduates interested in a career in law, which took place on 11 April and had over 90 attendees. The event included interactive sessions discussing the difficulties of entering the profession as a minority, application advice from our graduate recruitment team, and exclusive talks from successful black lawyers.
BLP's Inclusivity team were thrilled to win 'Team of the Year' at the 2016 enei awards. The judges commended the team for all they have achieved in just twelve short months since the launch of the new Inclusivity strategy. Notable successes were: embedding the contextual recruitment tool, a comprehensive gender and culture survey followed by in-depth focus groups, organising BLP's first 'Festive Family Day' for parents to bring their children into work, a roll out of unconscious bias training for the whole Firm and the launch of an Inclusivity Newsletter, now sent quarterly.
DiversCity is a unique recruitment event aimed at raising awareness of pursuing a legal career in the City amongst LGBT students at degree and postgraduate level, to combat the perception that the legal sector is less inclusive of the LGBT community. DiversCity recognises the importance of inclusivity in organisations and encourages all candidates to apply for our graduate positions, through a day-long annual event and ongoing mentoring scheme. Whilst DiversCity was spearheaded by BLP and Herbert Smith Freehills, many City firms now participate in this annual event, currently in its fifth year, including Baker & McKenzie, Hogan Lovells, Olswang, Pinsent Masons, RPC and Taylor Wessing.
DiversCity, an LGBT initiative aimed at raising awareness of pursuing a legal career in the City amongst LGBT students and graduates, won the national award for Inclusive Recruitment at the 2015 ENEI awards on 14 July 2015. Whilst DiversCity was spearheaded by BLP and Herbert Smith Freehills, many other City firms now participate in this annual event, currently in its fifth year.
Berwin Leighton Paisner were shortlisted for the Retention (Talent Management) award at UK Diversity Legal Awards 2016. They were commended in recognition of the work they have done to increase retention rates of all employees, but with a specific focus on female retention.
October is Black History Month and we want to recognise how the African-Caribbean community has shaped history to date, as well as shining a light on further progress that needs to be made. Hear from our colleagues Daniel Burnand (Associate) and Segun Osuntokun (Partner) on why marking Black History Month is important and the changes they have witnessed.
Our LGBT, Adelaide Group and Real Estate Balance groups have regular events and are key to our firms culture.
The Adelaide Group is a unique networking forum for women business leaders founded by the firm in 1997.
An ever increasing number of women occupy senior executive positions within companies and the professions; many of them welcome the opportunity to meet with their peers and exchange views and ideas on issues affecting women in business. Like all successful business people their time is valuable and they need to spend it in a productive and focused way. The Adelaide Group runs 5 or 6 events each year with speakers covering a wide range of topics. The first speaker was Cherie Booth, QC who is the Group's Honorary President.
BLP’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual (LGBT) Group was founded in 2009 with the dual purposes of promoting equality in the workplace and fostering stronger ties with our clients and other contacts. The LGBT Group provides a supportive framework for LGBT staff by representing their views and promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion within BLP and with third parties.
The LGBT Group meets every two months and organises social and networking events for LGBT staff, BLP Straight Allies and clients.
The LGBT Group’s mission statement is to:
We are proud of BLP's recent placement in Stonewall's 2017 Workplace Equality Index (WEI) and are committed to having a workplace where everyone is valued, motivated and able to be themselves.
Real Estate Balance is an association started by a group of senior women from different organisations engaged in real estate, who are passionate about addressing the gender imbalance in the UK real estate sector. Real Estate Balance will:
BLP’s Family Group host an annual ‘Festive Family Afternoon’, where over 100 BLP employees bring their children to the office for an afternoon before Christmas, to show them what 'work' is and to take part in a wide variety of festive activities together. In our staff canteen, children make Christmas decorations, have their face painted, decorate gingerbread men, make their own jewellery and reindeer food to take home with them.
The event supports the Family Group's aims of integrating work and family life and encouraging everyone to learn more about their colleagues' family lives.
Elasah Mastin, Senior Associate, said: "Me, my wife and my two boys thought it was great and it was really nice to see so many children and their parents about the place. My eldest son had a great time and asked the next morning whether he had to wait until next Christmas before coming back!"
Usman Wahid, Partner, commented: "Thank you all for arranging a fabulous event. In its own way, it made work feel like home, which I really appreciated."
Find out our diversity statistics and figures for the UK office