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Achieving a better balance at Clyde & Co

Posted: 9th April 2019

International Women’s Day is a big date in the Clyde & Co calendar and this year was no different.

As a firm we are committed to improving diversity at every level of our business. As is well known, the legal profession continues to suffer from a perception of being a male-dominated industry. Thanks to the great work of many people across the profession that is slowly being eroded but we still have a long way to go.

This year’s theme was #BalanceForBetter with the aim of creating a gender-balanced world. One of the key messages from this was that everyone has a part to play. So, how did Clyde & Co get involved?

We invited our people to think about this year’s theme and what it meant to them and write about it, either on LinkedIn or our firm intranet. We saw a wide variety of responses from across the business. From inspirational family members and historical figures to thoughts on how we can achieve a balanced boardroom.

We were very pleased with the engagement in the theme and we value the chance that International Women’s Day brings to restate our commitment to gender balance around the theme and the balance.

Presenting a better balanced brand

While diversity across the firm is a priority, we noticed there was distinct lack of diversity in how we presented ourselves externally. While women make up nearly half (46%) of the lawyer population and one quarter of partners at Clyde & Co, we found that on average across the global firm less than 20% of our external spokespeople quoted in the media were female. In response to these findings, we introduced our Balanced Brand initiative.

Launched at the beginning of this year, the aim of this initiative was to encourage and ensure greater diversity in our business development, marketing and communication activities. We wanted to challenge the status quo and provide all our lawyers, but especially our female lawyers, with training to help them develop the skills to promote their expertise and the business confidently and professionally. We want any lawyer, regardless of gender to know that they can thrive and develop and Clyde & Co.

Promoting diversity and inclusion a little closer to home

While our commitment to diversity and inclusion is firm-wide, we also champion this passion here in Scotland. Along with introducing more flexible working and varying our business development and pitching activities, our people are also keen advocates in this sphere. Just this month, Glasgow-based employment Partner Frances Ross was recognised for her contributions to social inclusion in employment law at The Scottish Diversity Awards.

In addition to her day-to-day discrimination work, Frances’ commitment to diversity, her role on the Law Society of Scotland’s Equality and Diversity Sub-Committee, her pro-bono work and her regular contributions to the Scottish media on equality issues helped her secure this impressive win.

We recognise that there is a low way to go to achieve gender parity and diversity in the workplace, especially in the legal sector. But we are proud of what we have done so far, and will continue to do to encourage a better balance in our workplace.

Author: David Tait, Managing Partner, Clyde & Co Scotland

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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