In-house head calls for ethnic support

IN-HOUSE lawyers should offer “discreet but clear support” for initiatives to reduce discrimination taken by the firms and chambers which they instruct.

That is the advice of the Law Society's commerce and industry group whose chair, Julian Armstrong, has also called for more sponsors for a bursary scheme for ethnic law students.

In the latest issue of the Chairman's Newsletter, Armstrong, Esso's general counsel, praises the Law Society's new practice rule outlawing discrimination.

He suggests “discreet but clear support for initiatives to avoid or reduce discrimination taken by the firms and chambers we instruct, and occasional inquiries to senior managers seeking information about their practices in this area”.

He also calls for more firms and companies to join Esso, Tate and Lyle, Linklaters & Paines and Clifford Chance in offering bursaries to help pay for the legal training of budding lawyers from ethnic minorities.

So far four bursaries, worth £3,000 each, are on offer under the scheme pioneered by Esso.