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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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  • Diversity

    Eversheds' diversity credentials are fairly tarnished when it comes to employing, promoting and retaining both ethnic minorities and women.

    With typical Sheds' spin they are making a virtue out of a necessity, given that renewal of their highly prized (but disasterously priced) contract with Tyco and its voluble GC Trevor Faure demanded positive action in relation to diversity.

    Rather than bashing the recruiters (who can only work with the talent pool available) why don't Eversheds put their money where their mouth is and do something useful in the community? Painting infant school toilet blocks isn't going to do much to improve the career prospects of inner city kids. Eversheds might also look hard at their own selection and promotion processes to open up opportunities to a wider group.

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  • Feeling the pinch

    It is entertaining that the large/top law firms, having trained up a large pool of middle-class, white and mediocre lawyers are now going to scrabble for 'diverse' candidates.

    While it is good to see that Tyco has the power to cause a wholesale change in a law firm’s approach to recruiting, it is sad to see that the first thing Eversheds does is pass the buck and recruiters whine like spoilt brats about how difficult it all is.

    If they don’t want to work for their money, all they have to do is walk away from the proposal.

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  • Diversity

    One of the major problems with diversity in the legal field is that no-one is actually owning up to the facts:

    1. There is positive discrimination in favor of men. Women are graduating at a far higher rate than men in law and broadly at university as a whole yet law firms try to maintain a near 50/50 ratio of men to women.

    2. A large part of the problem with BME students starts long before they apply to a law firm. BME students, especially black ones, are underrepresented in LLB and GDL programs. This is particularly the case at the traditionally well respected unis.

    Law firms and recruitment agencies can only work with the people that have met the required standards to be there.

    The solution is to begin to address the problem of lack of BME students at an earlier point. Trying to fix serious educational inequality at the law firm stage is too little, too late.

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  • Speaking as a recruiter...

    Speaking as a recruiter for a top UK consultancy I can honestly say that we always provide our clients with the best shortlist of candidates regardless of age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. What the Law firms decide to do with those shortlisted candidates is up to them.

    Recruiters are an easy target to pass the buck to, and are a much maligned group by the legal profession as a whole. The lack of professionalism exhibited by some recruitment agencies give those who genuinely add value for both their candidates and clients a bad name.

    In a talent-scarce market we save partners valuable billing time in sourcing high calibre candidates whose ambitions and personalities match that of the firm.

    Contrary to popular belief, we do not cold call candidates with irrelevant roles, nor do we pressure them into accepting unsuitable roles - to do so would be to undermine our hard earned reputation and undercut our long term growth for the sake of a quick buck.

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  • DIVERSITY

    I think the approach Eversheds is taking due to the pressure of its client is well weighted, however like most of the individuals have pointed out below, I agree that its the firm who has the last say.

    I am of an ethnic origin, I graduated from a University with not such a well repute, i went on to complete my LPC but had no joy gaining a training contract due to the diversity issue, so i took to the route to qualify in a commonwealth jurisdiction as an Advocate - finally i can qualify in the UK as a solicitor.

    The point is how much time and funds I have wasted to qualify in the UK just purely due to the fact that my name did not sound as the law firms wanted it to, I do welcome this change but putting it into practice is another story.

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  • Diversity

    As a senior in-house lawyer, I don't care whether firms are diverse or not - what I care about is that I receive a first class legal and commercial service. Counting numbers of people from different ethnic backgrounds etc. is irrelevant tosh - if law firms miss out on good people as a result of their own prejudices, service will deteriorate, firms will lose clients/work, and firms will need to recruit better to redress their failings. Recruit on merit, and ignore everything else.

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  • Response to: 'Diversity: let's not kid ourselves'

    An interesting post, I am from an ethnic minority background and I went to a public school. I totally disagree with the post below 'Diversity: let's not kid ourselves'. Most of my peers from public school dropped out of higher education and never completed their degrees.

    Their academic education might have been 'better' but it does not mean that the school instilled a sense of confidence, hard work and discipline in them at all. Therefore, going to public school does not give you a better foundation in life. All it does is install a false sense of superiority and confidence in you which isn't going to get you far in the big wide world, chump.

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  • Don't tar us all with their brush

    I was interested to read the article on the front page of The Lawyer regarding diversity and legal recruitment consultancies. There only appeared to be a few recruiters mentioned, which I suspect doesn't necessarily give a fair and accurate view of how seriously diversity is taken into account by all recruiters.

    At Taylor Root, and across the whole of The SRGroup, we have our own diversity policy and have monitored all new candidates since 2004, looking at race, gender, sex and age. This information is completed by the candidates at registration stage on a voluntary basis and all information is stored anonymously.

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  • Re: 'Diversity: let's not kid ourselves'

    Re the post at 9.01, you're hyperbolising massively. If you are really saying that MOST of the people you went to public school with didn't finish their degrees, which is hard to believe, you went to an untypically bad public school.

    Though we can argue about the fairness and the explanations behind it, no-one can seriously deny that public schools have on average consistently better academic results than state schools - insisting otherwise just isn't credible.

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  • Discrimination... in favour of men?

    Re yesterday evening's post about 'positive discrimination' in favour of men, I'd question how positive that really is. Women might be overtaking men in terms of new law graduates, but even with a 50/50 ratio among new lawyers, most firms remain dominated by men for several years to come. I for one thing that a legal world of the future dominated by women would only be pay-back!

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  • Recruiters slam Eversheds' demands for diversity

    Nick Root says that candidates voluntarily provide race, gender, ethnic etc. information and it is stored anonymously. So what? The pressure to compete the form is there, even if latent. I for one don't believe that such information does not play a part in HR recruitment decisions. As a white, middle-aged person I certainly feel discriminated against.


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  • Discrimination - in favour of men

    To Margaret Holda Roberts - do you think that two wrongs make a right here? I agree that he profession has long been dominated by men. But I also believe that is changing, admittedly not fast enough for some. Looking forward to payback only serves to entrench attitudes, surely?

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  • Diversity monitoring

    Can monitoring really make any difference on its own? Unless it is accompanied by positive discrimination, diversity statistics are nothing but just that: statistics.

    However few if any organisations are prepared to embrace positive discrimination except perhaps on gender lines (see poster below), knowing full well that this alienates hard-working people who happen not to be from a minority group, and that positive discrimination is an insult to people from minority groups that have succeeded entirely on their own merits.

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  • 'Tackling' diversity

    Further to some of the previous posts, I would like to know what Tyco/The Lawyer/Eversheds mean when they refer to 'tackling diversity'.

    Presumably this means the firm having to hit some sort of target about the number of lawyers from different minorities it has - which necessitates positive discrimination. If that's not the case, I'd like to hear the firm say it.

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  • tackling diversity

    Re comment by Bobby Smith: interesting point which I think reveals a lot about the legal profession. It would be hard to doubt that numbers of minority students being offered training contracts. Not offering contracts to bright young minority graduates would be a big no-no, and recruitment brochures lacking glossy photos of their diverse trainee group would be quickly picked up on.

    However, at the firm I trained at, those who did not stay on after qualification were overwhelmingly those trainees from a minority background.

    Some were not offered jobs on qualification, but there were also relatively many who simply chose not to stay. Why? Not fitting in, realising that to advance will mean having to be twice as good as white male solicitors, sometimes encountering overtly racist attitudes are but a few of the reasons.

    It's one thing (for the Shed) to start recruiting lots of solicitors from minority backgrounds; it's another to change the workplace environment into one where they will stay and flourish.

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  • Eversheds is totally hypocrytical

    It is 100% Eversheds own fault - they are stuck in their ways and it is the firm and the lawyers who are prejudiced against ethnic minorities. One of the very best at diversity is Herbert Smith or Clifford Chance, but for Eversheds to complain about recruiters is a joke.

    On times when I have forwarded international CVs through to Eversheds they have been rejected. Eversheds should take a long hard look at itself as it is one of the most backward, un-PC firms in the City.

    There is no problem with the international firms, so maybe Tyco should look to do business elsewhere as the Magic Circle firms and top international practices certainly do not have a problem with diversity.

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  • Recruiters slam Eversheds' demands for diversity

    I believe that much of the problem with diversity boils down to the fact that the vast majority of those lawyers involved in the recruitment process are recruiting in their own image.

    THEY are white, middle class and public school-educated, and as lawyers tend to be risk averse, they are recruiting the same. This not only leads to many minority and female candidates 'failing at interview,' but also keeps the environment that the rest have to work within as an extension of the rather clubby public school and white, male-dominated firms we see today. Solution? Have a look at the complete lack of social mobility in this country to begin answering that.

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  • 'Complete lack of social mobility'?

    Re the post at 12.09, while I agree with most of what Bobby Smith says, the 'complete lack of social mobility' you describe in Britain is not the case in London, at least - my doctor is Asian, my dentist Greek, my (wealthy) plumber Polish and my head of department an Anglified Indian... true, they're all male, but none of them are white and only the head of department is public school-educated.

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  • Oh the whinging......

    'Payback for women.... racist.... sexist.... hire less whites.... conspiracy...discriminate 'positively' to make up for it....' I'm sick of hearing it frankly.
    It's hard to get a TC! Yes, for white men too.
    It's hard to make partner. For white men too. Do you REALLY believe there's a big conspiracy to keep the profession white and male? That's laughable. There are more whites in the profession because - sad but true - state education is in rag order. There are far more middle and upper class white people, so more whites in public school. They get better marks, so end up in academic professions like the law. As for women, many have kids. Many stay at home, some go part time. Neither make partner. Those who do, try and balance which is difficult. Some make it. Many don't. The end.

    None of which obligates a money-making business to make up for the regrettable fact of society/biology.

    Now stop complaining and get back to work. You’ll never make partner gassing on thelawyer.com.

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  • Education education education

    I spent four years at a public school in the early 1990s (long story). Naturally it had a lot of kids from well-off families, but by no means were these the only ones: there was also a lot of people who were either entirely or partly assisted with their fees by the state, after qualifying for funding on academic grounds.

    Many of those kids are now associates and some even partners in City law firms - despite most of them not being white. Another is a doctor, one an architect and several have senior jobs in business. What this shows to my mind is that education is the most important thing for career progression - not being white.

    However the assisted place scheme has since been abolished by... the Labour government. Three cheers for New Labour!

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  • Re: Education education education

    Ditto grammar schools, of course.

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  • why is disability always never mentioned/considered

    Time and time again articles appear in newspapers and journals, particularly legal journals dealing with diversity objectives but none of these ever even mention disability, even though legislation covers disability discrimination.

    What is going on? When is the legal profession going to sit up and include disabled people? We have brains, we are human beings too, we should not be discounted just because we have disability.

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  • race as a red herring

    Whilst I certainly would not dispute that race is a factor (and negative one for minority solicitors) when it comes to recuitment amongst the 'elite' in the legal profession, it is mostly a red herring.

    The likes of the magic and silver circle do employ considerable numbers of solicitors from ethnic minority backgrounds. However, if you meet any such people, they will, without exception, be (very) middle class, almost certainly privately educated, and probably from affluent counties such as Surrey and Suffolk.

    Low numbers of blacks and Asians in the legal profession is not primarily because of race. It is because of social class. As blacks and Asians are viewed as predominantly working class or lower middle class, this is why the snobs at Freshfields/Links, etc would rather choose more 'blue-blooded' types who will know where to buy their shirts from; which restaurants to take clients to and how to behave at charity balls/marketing events, etc.

    Class, not race, is the main problem.

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  • At last - some sense

    Can everyone please read the comment from Simone Higgins first. Having read my way down, it will save you a lot of time as it's full of good sense.

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  • Diversity

    As a BME, non-legal professional, I am quite disappointed at what I'm reading here. Eversheds may appear to have passed the 'buck' - but the fact is Tyco, their client, has actually called ALL recruitment agencies bluff - by demanding a more 'diverse pool' of candidates to choose from via their monitoring request. Only when recruiters are brave enough to present more diverse candidates for client consideration and when prospective employers are sensible enough to actually CONSIDER them, will attitudes and staff profiles change.

    Finally, Re: Simone Higgins' comments, I would largely agree with them. But to (mischieviously or not) suggest aspiring BME legal eagles, 'immitate' arrogant, small screen, middle class male heroes as a way to progress is clearly misguided.

    The fact is, diversity in the UK's legal profession needs to improve otherwise its external perception will continue to be erroneously viewed as a preserve of middle class males - and lose out on the undoubted talent that DOES exist beyond the 'blinkers' of a narrow selection mindset!

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  • No to enforced diversity

    One could be flippant and say that all white, middle class males with legal qualifications should just be lined up against walls and shot - that would solve the diversity problem overnight.

    However, I'd find it refreshing if a top-flight law firm would take the position that when a client with a presumptuous GC starts telling the firm who they have to hire, both the GC and the client will be told they can take their business elsewhere.

    As a shareholder of a firm like Tyco I'd be VERY concerned that my economic interests are being compromised so political correctness goals can be achieved. And, as a shareholder, I'd be contacting corporate management that unless they want some extremely unpleasant annual meetings or shareholder revolts they'd better stop the diversity nonsense immediately.

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  • Diversity and Law

    I have read the article about diversity and law firms. The fact remains, it is an issue today and will become a bigger issue in years to come. I graduated from the University of Leeds over two decades back, and it was something of an issue then.

    A failure to heed portent then is what certain firms are victim of now. In an age of increasing diversity it is right for companies like Tyco to demand diversity figures and any law firm that isn't able to meet 'minimum' quotas ought to be deeply embarrassed.

    This article serves as an excellent opportunity for firms to look at themselves and ask critical client-led questions; the unfortunate aspect is that this was not self administered but has been forced upon firms by their clients.

    Certain firms are known for having a parochial view in their recruitment process and they will continue to be caught out.

    I do not condone companies giving hand-outs or royalties to firms that comply; instead, there ought to be penalty for those that do not and have no interest in being more representative and this initiative ought to be Law Society led.

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  • Tyco: do they or don't they?

    The unanswered question here is whether Tyco is prepared to endorse positive discrimination or not.

    If they want Eversheds to hit a diversity target in a short period of time, the only way to do that is by dragging in as many minorities as possible as quickly as possible. Inevitably that means giving them jobs at least partly on the basis of their minority status instead of their skills. If that's what Tyco wants, and if that's what Eversheds is prepared to do, they should both admit it.

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  • Diversity

    I have a question for Nick Root. Can he tell us how compiling these figures for the last four years has helped either his clients' businesses and/or his own?

    The only candidates that his company can deal with are those who respond to his adverts. What happens if no-one black or Asian or Jewish or disabled replies to the ad? Does he tell the other applicants that he can't put them forward as he has his other "quotas" to fill? Does his client refuse to interview the white men so they can keep their diversity figures up?

    What happens if his client has a disproportionate number of, say, Jewish partners in the firm? In this case, does the WASpish applicant become the "diversity" applicant? You can see how stupid this can all become.

    Everyone agrees that law firms need to become more diverse. The only way that things can change is by changing their criteria or interviewing methodology when seeking trainees. Everything else is a red herring.

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  • a recruiters view

    As a recruiter, I'll really work with any candidate who can potentially earn me a recruitment fee. For most large law firms however, this means someone with As/Bs at A-level, a 2.1 from a red brick university, and training/experience with a respected UK firm (or Australian/New Zealand equivalent), which naturally restricts the recruitment pool.

    While I'm very happy to monitor diversity, if the law firms want to take this issue seriously, they need to do much much more, and take pro-active steps to identify and attract the most talented individuals from more diverse backgrounds (not all bright and capable people can attend the targetted universities for example, or get training contracts with top UK firms).

    I'm sure most recruiters would happily undertake this initiative in partnership with the firms, provided they are serious about hiring, and not just paying lip service to the diversity concept.

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  • Question for questioner of Nick Root

    That last posting is numbingly obtuse (and no doubt posted by another recruiter). The point of monitoring is not to engage in knee-jerk reactions and engage in positive discrimination. If over a period of time any recruitment agency can see a pattern emerging, it can have a look at itself, the instructions it gets from law firms and its placement techniques to see if anything is being done which - consciously or not - is working against minority candidates.

    Only then - in co-operation with law firms and involving a lot of small steps - can you address the problem. It's no good coming up with absurd situations to discredit those who are trying to do something. What EXACTLY do you do?

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  • Diversity

    The answer to this problem does not lie with recruiters, Eversheds or Tyco because the causes of the lack of diversity (particularly with regard to race) have their roots in deeper socio-economic problems.

    In simple terms, education is a key criterion when it comes to recruitment in the legal profession and, unfortunately, a disproportionate amount of ethnic minorities are socially and economically disadvantaged and thus do not get the same breaks when it comes to education as white middle class kids.

    One wonders if it is really within the powers of the profession to genuinely influence these issues.
    However, there are no extenuating circumstances for a lack of diversity on any other grounds.

    Finally, as a seasoned recruiter, in crude terms, a recruiter wants to make the right placement regardless of any criteria which might be subject to prejudice. It is just not in our interest to do so. Eversheds' stance fails to recognise that recruiters can only work with the talent available, and because of those deeper lying socio economic factors, that talent pool is too often very white, very male and very middle class.

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  • Diversity

    What a can of worms this has opened! Last week I was submitting a candidate to one of my City clients (UK top 10). Part of their online submission system has a section asking us to provide information about ethnic background, sexuality, disability, sex, age etc. I explained that the only reason for the information is to monitor diversity and uphold equal opportunities. On asking my candidate for this information I was greeted with a great deal of suspicion and she did not believe that the information would not be passed on to the screening partners. I was asked why this information couldn't be asked further down the line, say after an offer. What can I say?

    This client also asks for date of birth in order to distinguish candidates with the same name. What a crock! Wouldn't a law society roll number be better?

    As an earlier recruiter said, it is in our interests to submit any candidate if we think they are up to the job. However, after over ten years in recruitment, experience says that we are usually on a hiding to nothing. Once in a blue moon we place someone with a non-stereotype background but they are the exception. Some clients like to use their KPIs to measure our performance, e.g. measuring the total number of CVs submitted, first interviews and placements.

    I can go on a moral crusade and submit only ethnic minority CVs but very quickly I will get kicked of preferred supplier lists for failing to meet their targets. I am happy to work with clients to broaden the appeal of firms to candidate populations who would not normally be targeted, but clients need to review their own processes and accept that many of their good intentions and associated processes are actually very off-putting and niave.

    At the end of the day, I can submit the required information to Eversheds but they need to ask what they will do with it...if they want to achieve their aim, positive discrimination creeps in and that opens yet another can of worms. Have they got the balls to see this one through?

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  • Recruitment agencies are an end to supplying diverse candidates to companies that requires them, but these are not an end in itself.

    Tyco wants all recruitment agencies to help in its diversity programme by sending a more diverse pool of candidates to choose. And it also demanded that Eversheds have a similar diversity programme. Both had sought the help of recruitment agencies to help and supply good diversity candidates for them. This should be considered as a good business transection and relationship, like a principal and an agent where all parties can benefit and profit from such transaction.

    For Tyco and Eversheds to talk about 'murder' is not right. With due respect, recruitment agencies are means to an end for them (Tyco and Eversheds) but not an end to their diversity programmes.

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  • Answer to questioner of questioner of Nick Root

    You are right in that I am a recruiter. And you want to know what we do to alleviate the world's problems? Well, and probably like most recruiters, I work in a company of which you would be proud. Why? Because for our own company, the only thing that matters when recruiting for ourselves, is talent, attitude, collegiality, teamwork etc.

    So, a quick look around the office shows me that over 50% of our staff are women, two thirds of the senior leadership team are women and 50% of the company could claim to be from an ethnic minority. Can you say the same about your firm? If not, what are you doing about it?

    In regards to our clients, the only thing that we can do is to point out to departmental heads that there don't seem to be role models within their teams and, therefore, if they are now looking for another partner, they might want to bear that in mind. We then attempt to find the best people in the market for them regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexual persuasion.

    What else can we do? Apart from tick a box to keep you, Eversheds and Tyco happy.

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  • Diversity targets can warp values

    Just to add my own experience to the mix, one of my colleagues admitted that he hired one of two equally good candidates because that candidate was Jewish, allowing him to boost his department's BME statistics.

    This was despite the fact the candidate in question went to a public school and lived in an expensive area of London - i.e. he was by no means from a deprived background - while the other, an 'Anglo-Saxon', was state-educated and came from a rough area of north London. In addition, Jewish people are by no means numerically under-represented in the law. To my mind that wasn't really about fairness, or about having the best people for the job - Society suffers, and so too, potentially, could the quality of our law firm.

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  • how about some facts?

    The Lawyer article doesn't say what Eversheds/Tyco are actually asking of agencies - wouldn't it be useful to have this information or would facts detract from the drama of the article?

    The REC, the professional body for recruitment agencies, actively encourages its members to adopt practices that support diversity because they recognise the important role agencies have to play. They also offer agencies the opportunity to sign up to a diversity charter - how many legal recruitment agencies have done so? You can check out for yourself at www.rec.uk.com/about-recruitment/diversity. Do law firms understand that we must work with the recruitment pool we already have? Of course we do. And we realise that one of the ways of broadening this pool of talent is by encouraging more diversity at the entrant level and raising aspirations of bright kids while they are still at school - this is why many firms are working hard to try to change perceptions of the profession through diversity projects in their local communities and universities.

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  • Comments about Jews in the profession

    Anon at 10:43 has made an unsubstantiated comment about over-representation of Jews in the profession dressed up in hearsay: 'one of my colleagues admitted...'. Utter crap. And what does this mean: 'In addition, Jewish people are by no mens (sic) numerically under-represented in the law'.

    As someone who is Jewish I can tell Anon that I have suffered antisemitism and racism from bigots in law firms I have worked for. If I worked for your firm, no doubt you would be one of those bigots.

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  • Dirversity in law firms

    Anonymous @10:43: Are you going to resign from your firm now that it and ultimately society at large are going to suffer because of the partner's alleged recruitment habits?

    After all, you don't want to work for a law firm with such a recruitment policy, or do you? Did it not occur to you that the partner might have self-preservation motives for saying what he/she did? You should be ashamed.

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  • 10.43: let's clarify

    In reply to the two responses to my post at 10.43, you have both misinterpreted what I said. Contrary to what you allege, I at no point said that Jewish people are 'over represented' in the law (see the comment below for the evidence), or that Jewish people never experience anti-semitism.

    The point I was making is that the ethnic aspects of diversity priorities are intended to address low numbers of other ethnic groups in the profession, such as people of West Indian or Bangladeshi origin. By contrast, there are large number of Jewish people in the profession - this is not a bad thing, but does mean that Jewish people shouldn't be favoured above other ethnic groups on the basis of their being Jewish.

    To remove any doubt, I would be appalled if anyone were to NOT get a job because they are Jewish: that is quite wrong and I condemn it.

    The point I was making is that in this instance, the Jewish person in question was given an advantage meant for the under-privileged and the disadvantaged, when he was neither, Meanwhile the person who genuinely did face adversity in coming from a rough(ish) background was discriminated AGAINST. That wasn't fair, nor did it help Society.

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