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Recruiters slam Eversheds' demands for diversity

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  • Ron Jordan

    Ron Jordan - you are talking absolute bunkum. Most of the legal recruiters here are certainly more diverse than the law firms they service.

    Many are run by women, most have Asian and other minority groups represented within their ranks. On the other hand, it's impossible to tell from your website who your colleagues are, as you are clearly the only one important enough to be on it!

    More importantly, being a "diversity legal recruiter" specialist in the UK market will mean that your business would soon go bust! You can't move them if they ain't there!

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  • Diversity - a real issue or a quota?

    Having reached third interview at a leading firm for a rather interesting role, the wonderfully PC person in HR requested that I pretend to be gay so that they could meet their diversity targets and offer me the role.

    I declined the request, as a white male, happily married to a woman with two children I refuse to hide the fact that I am not diverse enough to obtain a role - especially in a profession where the defence of the truth is paramount.

    I feel that the real issue here is that candiates with the most suitable skills and relevant experience are being ignored and rejected to allow firms to be seen as diverse.

    I remember the days when recruiters were more interested in skills, experience and the value a person could add to a firm than their orientation.

    Also, I am sure that the clients would prefer to know that the person working on their behalf has been selected based on skills and experience rather than orientation, quota or PC/PR requirements.

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  • Positive discrimination: another aspect

    Further to the post below and to some of the previous ones, many advocates of positive discrimination have not considered another important aspect of it: the potential lashback.

    I believe that the majority of white people in England and Wales, at least in theory, are in favour of everyone having an equal shot at getting into the law regardless of colour, disability or sexual orientation. I believe that this reflects a tradition of fairplay in this country that it is one of the few genuine reasons to be patriotic.

    However it is that same sense of fairplay that will be offended if people find that they have been discriminated against because they are white, heterosexual or able-bodied.

    The risk then is that a broadly positive attitude to diversity that exists currently could turn very sour.

    Given that while the number of non-Anglo Saxon people in England and Wales is growing, Anglo Saxons remain the biggest ethnic group, if Anglo-Saxons turned against the diversity movement that would be a very big problem for people who are from minority groups, and set back the positive change of recent years.

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  • Finally law firms are wising up!

    The level of ignorance displayed in some of these comments is outstanding!

    Firstly, positive discrimination is illegal in the private sector and therefore Eversheds are certainly not discriminating against anyone, they are merely applying a form of positive action which encourages people from diverse backgrounds to enter the profession.

    Secondly, the monitoring being required by the recruitment agencies is around the candidates they are putting forward to their clients, not about the diversity of the recruitment agencies themselves!

    And thirdly, it is a ridiculous notion that organisations which ask their agencies to produce diverse candidate lists are in any way not still going to be a meritocracy.

    They will no doubt still take the best candidate, but at least they will be given a choice of candidates from different backgrounds to choose from.

    Organisations are simply asking agencies to cast the net wider so that they are more likely to get different types of talented people rather than the same types of people which ultimately restricts innovation and therefore business.

    Surely anyone with a basic understanding of maths can see that if you look at 1000 candidates from 10 top universities rather than 300 candidates from the top 3 universities, the probability of getting better candidates increases?!

    In my view Eversheds are not actually doing enough! They should have thought about doing this before being pressurised by a client. But the demographics of our client base are changing and so we were bound to start getting requests from clients to sort our own ships out.

    So much research has recently been done about the business of benefits of diversity eg. leadership teams which are 50% men and 50% women are more likely to be innovative and are definitely more productive.

    But skewing the ratio with more men or even more women, greatly reduces productivity. It is no wonder that law firms are starting to follow in the fine footsteps of other City organsiations which started looking at diversity as a business priority years ago.

    Ultimately, all that Eversheds is really asking recruitment agencies to do is to look further afield for talent and to bear diversity at the back of their minds before putting forward candidate lists with no or little diversity.

    It is simply asking for monitoring because all business priorities are measured, otherwise how do you know if you are actually making progress?!

    Diversity is clearly a business priority and law firms finally have to wise up to this fact.

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  • This sensitive issue has been blown out of proportion!

    This continuing debate on the diversity issue is bad for Eversheds and for its relationship with Tyco.

    Its leaders must take steps to close this issue and re-open the diversity topic by taking the first step to prioritise it as one of its mission to be a top law firm in this changing legal environment.

    This issue is really between Tyco, the recruitment agencies and Eversheds itself. It should not be blown out of proportion. Eversheds should acknowledge the fact that the recruitment agencies are professional agencies or suppliers to its diversity programme.

    Any good candidate sent by them and if engaged should be trained to fit into its diversity initiatives and programme.

    Even though one is successful this in itself is an achievement and success for its diversity destination. This would also strengthened its business relationship with Tyco.

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  • Ron Jordan

    To say that diverse attorney recruiting would go bust in the UK is horse manure! The lack of creativity and the lack of ability to reach outside the borders of your own existience is the major reason that UK legal seach agencies are in this jam in the first place, much like the firms you all serve.

    Take a lesson and one is well learned, take the heat, find new ways of attracting first tier BME and women to your client firms.

    I have have met with legal search agencies when I am in London, not once did I find, a "black legal search" professional that headed a legal search agencies, in fact there are just a few here in the States.

    Again, look inwardly and fix your own internal organizations, once you have a multicultural firm, then the world's attorneys of color will beat a path to your door.

    Eversheds be damned, the problem lies with them, but as outside vendors, you are paid to provide: stop crying and do your job.

    Also, don't attack unless you can be honest and straightforward enough to use your name and organization.

    In closing, my name is featured on my site because I was the first diverse attorney recruiter in the U.S.

    Yes, I was told back in 1991 that most likely than not I would fail - I did not and could not, since our industry was not very likely at the time to employ a person of color, so I started my own, which is very successful.

    I stick by my comments and I am grateful for yours. Continued success to all, but if you all do not step to the plate or pitch, you will be a spectator or outside looking in. Peace.

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  • to 11.00 am- average white band

    I am extremely surprised at the anger in your tone. I cannot believe you have just said what you have. This is not about some majority Anglo Saxon group turning against a diverse group as per your note .This debate is simply about ethnic minorities being given an equal chance in the job market. Please do not deviate from the issue. What you have said is very destructive and comments like this make you sound very ignorant.

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  • Re: post at 11am, by Average White Band

    Regarding Average White Band's post at 11am, while I don't agree with his or her viewpoint, the poster at 12.22 in response has failed to recognise what the post was actually about.

    What the post was about wasn't the issue of BMEs getting a fair chance generally, but specifically about so-called 'positive discrimination', in which jobs are reserved specifically for people from minorities (i.e. non-minority candidates have no chance of getting them). That is something specific within the diversity debate which even many BME people disagree with.

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  • Ron Jordan

    I run a legal search company in the UK. I have been following this debate with interest since the article was printed on Monday.

    If I look at the last few research documents that we have put together for clients, they have covered the following sectors: real estate, project finance, corporate recovery and corporate.

    The firms researched all fall within the top 100 UK and US law firms based in London. Each assignment covers between 20 and 40 firms and between 80-250 partners are researched in depth.

    A quick analysis shows the number of partners that fall under the BME banner within each research document:

    Restructuring -2
    Projects - 7
    Real Estate - 9
    Corporate - 3

    So Ron, what does this tell us? It clearly shows our clients that regardless of their and our good intentions, we can not produce for them lawyers that do not currently exist within their peer firms.

    In regards to our own staff, we can only hire from those that make applications to us. So we have a pretty mixed team - more women than men, Jews, Arab, African and Zoroastrian. We even have white men - both posh and working class, from the South and from the North!

    Not bad for a small company!

    Maybe your search company is as diverse as ours? Or maybe it isn't? We don't make a song and a dance about our mixed team because they are only working here for one reason - they are all very good and talented. And that's why our clients use us.

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  • Ron Jordan

    I think what Ron in his last paragraph is trying to say is "if you aren't prepared to face a West Indies attack bowling outswingers with a new ball at Trent Bridge on a seaming pitch when cloud cover is heavy, then you should call for your sweater and go and field at long leg."

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