25 Sep 2018
Law firm Ashurst's aim to increase the number of partners proactively engaged in the firm’s diversity agenda and embed diversity and inclusion as an integral part of the firm’s high-performance culture has seen it launch Committed to Change ('C2C').
The C2C programme engages partners to make a public and proactive commitment to diversity and inclusion as a method to harness the power of inclusive leadership, with the aim that every office and practice group has at least one local C2C member.
The pilot programme was launched in November 2017 and has now grown to include over 95 partners across 18 of the firm’s global offices.
Global managing partner Paul Jenkins comments that he was inspired to create the initiative after being the first law firm leader to join the Male Champions of Change programme in Australia, founded by Elizabeth Broderick, which works with prominent leaders in the business community to redefine men’s role in gender inequality:
“As a Male Champion of Change, I was inspired to create an initiative at the firm which demonstrates our commitment to diversity and inclusion through inclusive leadership. As a result of C2C, there has been an increased amount of diversity and inclusion activity such as training, seminars and communications campaigns, and a greater number of our employees now have visible and active advocates for diversity and inclusion."
C2C partners commit to a range of activities, which include taking part in a reverse mentoring arrangement and promoting the firm’s ‘smarter working’ initiative, by role modelling changes in their own working patterns and being open to changes to work patterns for those in their team. Participating partners also proactively promote diversity and inclusion messages and events amongst their teams.
Over 80 reverse mentoring pairings have been established as a result of the initiative, which have focused on a range of diversity and inclusion perspectives including gender, caring responsibilities, ethnicity, culture and faith, and LGBTI inclusion.
These actions and deliverables are supported by regular C2C communications, where the group exchange ideas. Paul Jenkins holds the group to account at global calls to measure progress in driving change. In 2018, 58% of Ashurst's new partner promotions were women which well surpassed the firm's gender target of 40%.