Ashurst trials “blind allocation” of work to corporate associates in attempt to ensure fairness

Ashurst is piloting “blind allocation” of work in its corporate department after hiring a management consultant to lead on doling out mandates.

Under the new scheme resource management consultant Dave Cook has taken over the allocation of work to the firm’s corporate associates from the partners.

The pilot, which launched in July, sees Cook allocate work “blind”. The work is dished out based on an associate’s previous work at the firm rather than their prior work for and relationships with partners.

Ashurst global corporate co-head Simon Beddow said the aim was “to achieve complete blindness on who gets what work, and to ensure people get an equal share of the work.”

Beddow added he expected the initiative to improve gender and social equality in the corporate department and ensure equal allocation of work between the sexes.

The ‘30 per cent club’, which campaigns for gender equality at work, has focused on how non-blind allocation of work can result in women losing out on mandates.

Cook’s role is temporary until the end of the pilot, which concludes this month. Beddow said the trial had been “successful” and the firm will ”now look to recruit a permanent management consultant to the corporate team”.  

Cook took on the same role at Clifford Chance in 2012 to deliver a similar system in the magic circle firm’s corporate and capital markets practice groups.