Diversity venture rocked as Slaughters wields axe

The future of Global Graduates is hanging in the balance with a number of its law firm sponsors indicating that they are exploring options to work with alternative diversity organisations.

Global Graduates, which was launched by diversity crusader Yolande Beckles to mentor aspiring lawyers from non-traditional backgrounds, has been battling for survival after tabloid revelations regarding Beckles’ finances. The controversy followed Beckles’ role in the BBC2 show Don’t mess with Miss Beckles.

It is understood that Slaughter and May, whose three-year sponsorship deal is about to expire, has decided against renewal. Slaughters declined to comment.

Other firms that sponsor Global Graduates include Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Weil Gotshal & Manges.

Furthermore, the meeting Beckles promised to arrange to reassure Global Graduates’ sponsors that its financial affairs are in order has not been set up (The Lawyer, 8 May).

Meanwhile, it is understood that Beckles is considering her options, which include the possibility of further TV appearances.

One graduate recruitment head said: “As it comes to the busy season, people will need to make a decision about Global Graduates and I won’t be surprised if some firms start to explore other avenues. Five or six years ago, Global Graduates was the only diversity organisation in the market. That’s not the case any more.”

Beckles did not return calls.