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Recruiters slam Eversheds' demands for diversity

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Readers' comments (125)

  • 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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