We recognise that our culture is greatly enriched by taking an inclusive approach to our relations with each other and with those with whom we come into contact externally.
We appreciate that valuing each other's differences can bring greater strength to teams, practice areas, departments and ultimately the firm as a whole. Therefore we encourage everyone to share new ideas and approaches drawn from our diverse personal perspectives. As our practice expands globally, the diversity of our client base continues to grow. Our approach helps us to understand and to devise creative solutions to anticipate and address our clients' needs.
Everyone is an individual
Diversity at Taylor Wessing means valuing everyone as an individual. We want to ensure that all employees have a full opportunity to maximise their potential and to enhance their personal contribution. One of the firm's core values is building strong relationships, which means seeking to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and integrity and feels comfortable in their working environment. Building relationships is closely related to the concept of diversity and underpins our Dignity at Work Policy.
We want to ensure that all employees have a full opportunity to maximise their potential and to enhance their personal contribution.
The following policies in place in the UK offices are specifically aimed at fostering inclusion and diversity:
1) Dignity at Work Policy:
Our Dignity at Work Policy confirms our objective of creating an environment in which every individual is provided with equality of opportunity, where action is taken to prevent discrimination, harassment or bullying and to deal with it swiftly wherever it arises. It goes further than merely requiring that employees keep within the law and in addition, sets out the positive steps that Taylor Wessing will take towards promoting diversity. The policy is brought to all employees' attention through a combination of induction training and firm-wide briefings.
2) Flexible Working Policy:
We have a Flexible Working Policy whereby all staff (not just those who have a legal entitlement to do so) may request contractual flexible working arrangements. Existing arrangements include part-time working, job-sharing, home working and remote working. A significant number of our staff work on a formal flexible working arrangement and many of our people at all levels (including Executive Board) have been given the opportunity to take sabbaticals.
3) Home Working Policy:
Our Home Working Policy provides further practical guidance for those who wish to wish to work from home for either all or part of their normal working week.
4) Maternity, Adoption, Paternity and Parental Leave Policies:
We have maternity, adoption, paternity and parental leave policies in place and pay enhanced maternity, paternity and adoption pay. We also operate a childcare voucher scheme which enables employees to make savings on Income Tax and National Insurance when paying for childcare.
1) Dignity at work
The operation of the firm's Dignity at Work Policy is overseen by our Diversity Group, which is chaired by a member of our Executive Board.
The Group has the following responsibilities:
- To review diversity concerns which affect Taylor Wessing and make recommendations to the Executive Board to address such concerns;
- To ensure our recruitment, retention and employee engagement strategies help Taylor Wessing remain an inclusive workplace where everyone has a full opportunity to flourish;
- To generate and implement ideas for firm-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives, consulting with colleagues on a wider basis as appropriate;
- To ensure a broad range of perspectives, from across the diversity strands, are represented when the firm is considering policy and procedure.
We participate in the Law Society Firms' Diversity Forum. The aim of this forum is to inform the Law Society's work, to promote progress on equality and diversity across the profession and to share best practice within the group.
2) Gender initiatives
We appreciate that valuing each other's differences can bring greater strength
We have undertaken a detailed consultation project and, led by the Executive Board, are undertaking a programme of specific initiatives to support the retention and career development of our female solicitors.
- The Taylor Wessing Women in Business Mentoring Programme is an innovative, dynamic mentoring programme available to all female associates, with the aim of creating a forum for discussion through which people can share experience and support learning. All sessions are led by a combination of female and male partners and are focused and tailored to issues that female associates may encounter at work day to day.
- We have external women's networks, such as Women in Private Equity, Women in Property and Women in Insurance through which networking events are organised with our key clients.
- We offer targeted training to support female associates in their development and their career and we also provide maternity coaching to assist female associates make the transition successfully through pregnancy, maternity leave and their return to work.
3) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Initiatives
We recognise the importance of offering individuals the opportunity to share experiences with peers and colleagues and we have a number of LGBT networks (internal and external) to help engage and support these needs.
- We have an internal LGBT Network, which engages with the needs of our LGBT employees and also any non-LGBT colleagues that may be dealing with LGBT issues outside the workplace;
- We founded Freehold; a network for LGBT Property Professionals and co-founded the Gay Employment Lawyers' Group. These forums are going from strength to strength and are continuing to grow in members.
- Taylor Wessing is a member of the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme, a good practice employers' forum on sexual orientation to recognise and demonstrate our commitment as a Firm to working to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equality;
- In January 2011, we were appointed to a panel assisting the charity the Human Dignity Trust. The aim of the Trust is to bring legal challenges against the criminalisation of homosexuality in the 40 Commonwealth countries where it remains illegal. A number of our fee-earners have been providing support to local lawyers, mounting challenges against the governments in these countries.
4) Religion & Belief
Within the Taylor Wessing UK offices, approximately 16 languages are spoken, over 20 nationalities are represented and over six religious groups are represented.
We seek opportunities to raise awareness of the value of cultural diversity and of the wide range of religions followed and represented. We regularly circulate information regarding religious festivals and observance and we recently sponsored a Sukkah in the square outside our London office.
Taylor Wessing provides a multi-faith room for prayer or quiet contemplation to facilitate religious observance. Taylor Wessing's staff restaurant also provides Halal and Kosher catering.
5) Social Mobility
We encourage everyone to share new ideas and approaches drawn from our diverse personal perspectives.
Ensuring diversity in both Taylor Wessing and the wider legal profession is a continuous commitment of ours and the area of social mobility is one in which we are heavily involved.
- We have established strong relationships with our charity partner, Future First and The Social Mobility Foundation and we are forging links with other programmes such as the City Corporation's programme, Fringe Benefits.
- In February we joined PRIME, the first profession-wide social mobility scheme aiming to support students from less privileged backgrounds in gaining access to quality work experience.
- In August 2012, we are launching a structured work experience programme, Tomorrow's Talent, which will offer valuable and meaningful work experience to talented students aged 16-18 from less privileged backgrounds. Some of our key clients will be providing a three-day work placement as part of the Tomorrow's Talent programme, which will enable some of the participating students to experience a different type of working environment, gain exposure to a different career path and business structure and broaden their understanding of how other businesses engage with law firms.
- To recognise the importance of social mobility, questions about educational background feature in our annual firm wide diversity survey, as by actively monitoring social background, we will be able to track more effectively the demographic of our staff and partners.
We participated in the Black Lawyers Directory annual survey in 2012 and are looking to develop our relationship with them going forward.
7) Community Action
Our many charitable and community initiatives help to create a culture where people are encouraged to think beyond their office life.
We have strong links with our local communities and over 15% of our UK partners and staff have participated in one or more of our volunteering schemes. Our schemes provide assistance to local schools whose pupil profiles are drawn from minority groups, as well as charities which care for the elderly and homeless people.