Herbies lays down the law on diversity

It seems not everyone at Herbert Smith was enthusiastic about the firm’s diversity initiative. So much so that, when the firm began its diversity training for partners, it had to make it compulsory. So said partner Martina Asmar, head of inclusivity at the firm, at The Lawyer conference on diversity on 16 May.

As it happened, the partner reaction was pretty positive after their sessions, which were mostly conducted with actors and through role-playing – undoubtedly a lot more fun than pie charts and lectures.

So successful were the sessions that Herbert Smith is now rolling them out to the entire firm – 1,400 staff members – and is committed to giving diversity training to all external hires.

Asmar floated an intriguing concept during her remarks. Herbert Smith seriously considered making attendance at the diversity training part of the partner appraisal process. In the end, though, it shied away from such a radical step, but the message, at any rate, was clear.

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