Eversheds Sutherland sets ethnic diversity targets in the UK

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Eversheds Sutherland has set ethnic diversity targets for its UK practice.

The international firm has launched its first targets for black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) staff to increase ethnic diversity in its teams in the UK.

It aims to achieve 14% BAME representation across the jurisdiction by 2022, including in its partnership. The firm said that across the UK, its teams are currently made up of 11.85% BAME staff. Eversheds Sutherland also said that its UK partners should be 10% BAME by 2025, up from the current 5.33%.

The firm also said that starting next year, it will voluntarily publish its ethnicity pay data alongside its gender pay report.

“We want Eversheds Sutherland to be a firm which reflects the world in which we live and work, and where opportunity is available to the many and not the few. Recognising the challenges often faced by the BAME community we are setting targets, as we have in other areas, to bring accountability and transparency to the success of our programme to build a more ethnically diverse workforce. We will continue to appoint the best people for all our roles but want to ensure we have removed any barriers which could discourage BAME candidates from applying or being successful,” said Lee Ranson, Eversheds Sutherland chief executive.

Naeema Choudry, partner and joint head of the firm’s ethnicity network, said that the introduction of the targets supports the firm’s commitment to create the right environment for BAME staff to develop their careers.

“By challenging our UK practice to focus on this important issue we hope to see real and meaningful change. Data from the Solicitors Regulation Authority has shown the challenge that we face across the whole legal sector to be ethnically diverse. Each firm has an individual role to play, but making a wholesale shift will require us to work together across the sector,” Choudry said.