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Recruiters slam Eversheds' demands for diversity

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Readers' comments (125)

  • Are candidates getting a far go?

    I am a newly-qualified solicitor and have a disability. It took 5 years and over 550 applications to get a training contract.

    My dream is to work for a top international firm in the city or overseas. My challenge is although I have a 2:1, LPC commendation, post-grad diploma and specialist training in the area I would like to qualify into, I did not train at a top London firm (although I did work as a paralegal at magic/ silver circle firms for 3 years).

    I have had TWO RECRUITMENT COMPANIES REFUSE TO HELP ME. I see my perfect job on [a well known recruitment website]l and phone for more details, they tell me the firms won’t even look at my CV, and then won’t tell me which firm it is who is recruiting.

    So I now have to cold call all the firms I am interested in on the off chance it is one of them.

    When applying for Training Contracts on half my applications I disclosed my disability, while on the other half I didn’t. I only ever got interviews where I had NOT disclosed my disability. You can draw your own conclusions from that.

    So do you tell firms/recruitment agents about your disability or not? My experience is don’t, unless they ask you something which you can only explain by disclosing it. You can use the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 if you have disclosed it, but my experience is it doesn’t help.

    Solutions? Firms should be very careful when providing a candidate wish list to recruitment agents as the agents are discriminating against certain candidates and the firms are never getting to hear about them. I think there should be an investigation into the practices of recruitment agents.

    My experience is firms are getting better at diversity, and firms such as Herbert Smith are leading the way to ensure there is a level playing field when it comes to diversity.

    There are also some great HR Managers out there who really do see the skills a disabled person can bring to a firm but it’s the partners who make the ultimate decisions. More awareness is needed across the profession.

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  • Comments about commenst about Jews in the profession

    If Jews are 0.5% of the UK's population, and there is a higher % than this within a particular law firm, then they are over represented in that firm. That isn't an anti-Semitic comment.

    And I also know of major City/international firms that I would not recommend to someone Jewish because of the culture of the place.

    But most relevantly, that Partner's comments does show how the diversity profession can have a negative impact.

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  • Where's the diversity of thinking?

    It’s great to see diversity getting a good airing in The Lawyer, and there’s plenty of interesting, thought-provoking posts, alongside the usual rants that get trotted out every time this topic arises.

    But for me, all these posts seem to miss something about diversity. It’s not a tick-box exercise, a census exercise nor an end in itself.

    What diversity should be about is diversity of thought. When everybody thinks and behaves the same (happens a lot in law firms at the moment), everybody tends to agree, so there’s often an absence of constructive challenge or even innovation. All there is, is the same old, same old.

    If you bring people into a firm from a range of backgrounds, you’re more likely to get proper debate and challenge. It’s this creative tension - and it is a tension - that gets better results.

    The Wisdom of Crowds is a fantastic book on this topic. Some of its strongest arguments for diversity come from NASA, which it argues was more successful in the 60s and 70s when people came from all walks of life, as opposed to the 80s and 90s, with its string of horrific disasters, which it suggests were the result of years of a graduate entry scheme and hierarchical structure that had honed all employees to think and behave the same, and to avoid challenge.

    And if you do want diversity of thinking, you need a diversity of people. We all tend to favour people in our likeness (for law firms that has historically been white, middle class, well educated males) - that’s only human nature - so we’re all more likely to recruit people we think will ‘fit’.

    But if we want to innovate and change a profession that in my view is a bit last century, then we need actively to recruit people who aren’t like us - and we have to be willing to accept the tension that comes with it.

    Recruiters have to play their part in making this change happen, like it or not, otherwise the profession will never change and grow.

    It might mean we work in environments that aren’t as comfortable as they are now, but we’ve got to recognise that ‘different’ brings something unique to the table, and shouldn’t be just written off as ‘odd’ or ‘uncomfortable’.

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  • Wake up!

    Why don't BMEs just get over it. I'm Asian and disabled and managed to get a training contract without any difficulty. The problem is that candidates need to be realistic - you can't get a degree from an old poly and expect to get a training contract with a top international firm - they will reject you regardless of your sex and skin colour. Rather than spend all their time feeling sorry for themselves, why don't these people concentrate on improving their CVs? Maybe we can then all move on!

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  • Comment on: 'Where's the diversity of thinking' (12.02)

    I think that it's pretty clear from reading some recruiters' posts what is going on here: These diversity exercises do have an influence on how law firms recruit specific individuals and 'positive discrimination' is here whether some like it or not. What is also clear from some posters that the fact that Jews should only have 0.5% representation in law firms because anything more than that is detrimental to 'Society' (sic).

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  • Jewish people and diversity

    The poster at 12.24 has willfully misinterpreted what previous posters have written. The point being made isn't that more Jewish people in the law is a bad for society or anything else, merely that Jewish people don't need special help to enter the law in the same way that some other ethnic minorities do, as they are already very well represented in the profession.

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  • diversity - take it in your own hands

    If one feels service providers are not up to the set standards, why does one not take the matter in one's hands?

    After all what is the point of having well-paid HR managers to implement diversity policies and then outsourcing the whole recruitment process with reluctant providers...
    Firms end up paying twice : a HR manager and a recruitment firm for an unsatisfactorily result.

    One has to read recruitment pages to see that diversity is not in service providers (Laurence Simmons all over the place, together with other names...what HR managers are doing in legal firms I wonder...).

    Maybe Evershed will be able to have diversity taken seriously when its HR manager will recruit directly!

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  • Keep up with the profession recruiters

    It seems to me that Eversheds are simply trying to deliver what their clients want. In order to do this, they need their recruitment agencies to deliver what they want. If those agencies don't want to do this then that's fine - it's potential lost business and no doubt there are plenty of other recruiters happy to take their place and actually meet their new client's demands. Maybe profit can be a way of driving positive change on issues such as diversity.

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  • But what IS it that they want?

    Further to the post at 14.29, I agree completely with your point about meeting client demand. But what neither Tyco nor Eversheds has offered any clarification on is how diversity is actually going to be achieved. Counting minority numbers doesn't achieve anything other than the creation of a long list of numbers - where will they take it from there?

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  • Re 14:29pm

    Successful recruitment companies, like the one I work for, do give their clients what they want - within reason. We cannot magic qualified lawyers from minority groups out of thin air.

    As other people have pointed out, recruiters can only work with the talent that is out there... unfortunately due to massive flaws in the education system (which consistently fails those from under privileged and minority backgrounds - particularly black males) there are not enough QUALIFIED lawyers from these groups to recruit from. Until Law firms change their policies in recruiting trainees then this situation WILL NOT CHANGE.

    Successful recruitment is about managing candidate and client expectations. A client may demand a magic circle lawyer with top academics for their role, and they may want to pay them peanuts, but the recruiter is going to struggle to find someone who fits the bill. Likewise a client may want a number of qualified minority lawyers but if those people don't exist, or are not looking to move, then there is sod all the recruiter can do about it.

    I suggest the legal profession get their own house in order before attacking others. My workplace is a very diverse environment and is all the better for it.

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