Herbert Smith has set up an inclusivity committee, made up of top partners at the firm, to recruit people from ethnic minorities and to conduct internal soul-searching into whether the firm is inclusive enough.
The committee has begun a programme of holding talks for ethnic minority students at the top 30 universities it already recruits from, and is in the process of hiring consultants to identify diversity issues among existing staff.
The committee, headed by corporate partner Martina Asmar, is made up of eight partners, including managing partner Iain Rothnie, high-profile M&A partner Henry Raine and litigation partner Hardeep Nahal.
Asmar said that, although Herbert Smith is trying to encourage applications from ethnic minority students from top 30 universities, it would not go on a recruitment drive at new universities, which tend to attract more ethnic minority students.
“We’ll concentrate on the universities we recruit from already, as we already go to a large number,” confirmed Asmar.
In 2003, Herbert Smith visited the universities of Aberdeen, Belfast’s Queens, Birmingham, Cambridge, Dublin, Dundee, Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, King’s College London, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford, St Andrews, University College London and Warwick, and has just added Cardiff to its list of target institutions.