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Diversity and inclusion

Race and ethnicity

As a global organisation we want to broaden the firm’s representation among different races and ethnicities, particularly at senior levels.

Our efforts in this area include our global Black Affinity Network, which brings together lawyers of black African and black African Caribbean heritage from across the firm. In 2020, BAN created a network of non-BAN Freshfields colleagues, who are committed to taking practical action to support ethnic diversity and inclusion within the workplace. These representatives would be senior ambassadors for the BAN community (informally known as BANbassadors), helping to foster an inclusive environment which values ethnic diversity and galvanises support throughout the firm.

Launched in 2007, the firm’s Legal Outreach programme, has equipped New York high school students, from non-traditional backgrounds, with skills in writing and reasoning to empower them to achieve academic success and admission to the most elite US colleges. Members of our Black Affinity Network mentor these students as they get exposed to the culture and types of work at a corporate law firm.

We celebrate Black History Month in both the US and the UK, hosting talks and other events with a number of our clients.

The Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme has been designed to address the disproportionate under-representation in large commercial law firms and other City institutions of black men from less socially mobile backgrounds.

We also partner with the Black British Business Awards and organisations such as SEO (Sponsors for Educational Opportunity).

We are a founding signatory of The Charter for Black Talent in Finance and the Professions and we have recently signed up to the Rare Race Fairness Commitment in the UK.

Ethnicity Awards 2020

Champion Ally - Claire Wills