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Recruiters slam Eversheds' demands for diversity

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  • Recruiters slam Eversheds' demands for diversity

    This must be the start of the 'silly season' for news. How on earth are recruitment companies supposed to manage the diversity of the law firms they serve when it is the law firms who make the final decision as to who they recruit?

    Have a look at the diversity of those NQs who are not kept on by ALL law firms and you'll find this unlucky group is often OVER representative of ethnic and gender minorities.

    Many firms display an obvious and overt racist and sexist policy for those who would be the future of the profession. Only when the default recruitment for white, middle class and male candidates changes will the recuiters be able to assist with diversity within the firms they act for.

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  • Recruiters slam Eversheds' demands for diversity

    I think its laughable that the law firms are now taking this stance. As an International recruiter myself I think its an issue that needs to be addressed . It is also very important to look further afield to other British jurisdictions where I have found the recruiting policies bordering on illegal especially in the Cayman Islands (a point the The Lawyer should potentially explore!!).

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  • Diversity in recruitment

    I am a black solicitor and law lecturer who has sort of reached the age where I can say I have seen it all before. I think Eversheds' policy is good - even if it is tied to the demands of a powerful client. However, I agree with the recruitment agencies that law firms are primarilly at fault. But I also blame universties and some students. There has long been a bias towards white middle class recruits etc, and frankly it is not going to go away. However, the problem can not be laid entirely at the door of law firms. There are considerable problems at the education level. It remains the case that most of the better known law firms and central government tend to take trainees, pupils or qualified lawyers from old universties rather than the new.

    In my experience the latter is where most ethnic minority candidates will have obtained their degree. There remains a considerable amount of snobbery about degrees and A-levels and the like (class, your postal code and your grades) and where they are obtained.

    There is no doubt that there are problems as to the quality of the courses that are run from some institutions (not all are their fault given lack of resources, more students and low paid lecturers). But it is my view that many of those problems can be found in old and new universities. The results of these problems are sometimes exhibited in the quality of the applications made and work produced by white as well as black students and their unrealistic behaviour and expectations.

    I also think that some students (black and white) need to do a bit more research about their proposed university. Some universities may be cheaper and nearer to home, which of course is an issue in these days of loans and the credit crunch, but if a university's services are poor and its reputation is dire (whether or not the reputation is deserved), you will have wasted your money, however little, you think you have spent.

    Some degrees will not be worth having (however affordable) as they willl not enable you to get a job. My advice, especially to Black students, if anyone wants it, is to do everything you can to reduce the issues that are likely to get your CV rejected by the middle class fraternity.

    Go to a well respected uni, get a 2.1 or 1st, be active in university and community activities to enhance your CV and enjoy life, contact the various black lawyer networks for advice and help, regularly review the quality of your CV, and know your law. Also, watch lots of episodes of Holby City, Kavangh QC and the like to get used to the ways of arrogant middle class professionals (you will be working with many of them black as well as white if you get a legal job) and perhaps develop tactics on how to ignore them or challenge them without losing your job.

    None of it is easy, but remember there are dozens of white middle class people who do what they have to (easy or not) to get what they want - you need to do the same.

    Also, being a lawyer is not easy-so you may as well get use to it. Baroness Scotland and Barrack Obama need not be exceptions to the rule.

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  • Recruiters and diversity

    What's laughable is that recruiters think that they can wash their hands of this issue. The point is not that they monitor whom law firms finally make an offer to (duh..that's the law firms' job), but rather that they monitor how their own candidate discovery and appraisal works. Do minority candidates have an equal chance of being put forward for a job at the top law firms, or are they held back by recruiters because of (possibly unconscious) stereotyping?

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  • Eversheds are passing the buck

    Eversheds are using the recruiters as a pawn to make a big statement in front of Tyco. Regardless of whether they monitor diversity stats or not, recruiters are actually powerless to change anything as it is law firms and universities that actually create lawyers. Recruiters can only work with what they've got.

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  • Re: recruiters and diversity (below)

    I think the comment below (14.39) is unfair. Most recruiters wouldn't hold back any candidate if they believe the candidate is likely to get a job: it's just not in their interests.

    If I as a recruiter do hold an application back from someone who is female/BME/gay, whether consciously or unconsciously, it is because I believe that the law firm or company is not going to give a job to that person. This not due to my own prejudice, but because I am aware of the prejudice of that organisation - if I thought they might get the job, its in my commercial interest to put ANYONE forward.

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  • Recruiters and Diversity

    Re comment at 15:00. If that is the case, then there shouldn't be any problem for recruiters in monitoring what they do.

    It is, however, absurd to say that you are financially motivated to be free of prejudice. If that is the case there would be no discrimination in a market economy.

    Law firms ought to have no reason to discriminate against the very best legal minds, but diversity programmes come into being because it happens anyway!

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  • Diversity: let's not kid ourselves

    At risk of sounding massively un-PC, diversity is manifestly a social responsibility issue, not an economic one.

    If they are honest, the reason that companies often choose people from middle class, public-school educated backgrounds is not because they are inherently snobbish, rather that those two factors offer them more of a 'safe bet'.

    Being middle-class or public school-educated doesn't make you cleverer - there are plenty of thick posh people too - but the education you will have received is likely to have been of a higher standard. You will also have been surrounded in your formative years by confident people who speak clearly, and you will have been encouraged and applauded, not stigmatised, for being bright. All of this is gives you a good foundation - that's why posh people pay for it.

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  • Define 'diversity'

    It's vital here to define 'diversity'. For instance many firms could easily up their diversity count by increasing the number of public school-educated people of Indian origin. That would tick the 'BME' box and give the firm/recruiter something to boast about, even though people of Indian origin in England actually have a proportionally higher number of professionals in their ethnic group than do white people.

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  • DIVERSITY

    As a senior level headhunter I welcome any progress that can be made in terms of diversity. However I would suggest that law firms should take a long hard look at their own practices rather than pointing the finger of blame elsewhere. It would be interesting to hear how many times recruiters have been told "0f course we can't really say this but we would prefer a man for this department"?!

    It is all well and good for heads of diversity to criticise the approach of other companies but perhaps the first and most important step is to ensure that their own partners are in line with the egalitarian approach being advocated.

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