For us, being diverse is not just the right thing to do – it is also crucial for our continued success. We need graduates who are creative, open-minded and curious.
Creating a diverse, inclusive workplace where everyone can achieve their potential is a priority. Our ambitious five-year diversity commitments and targets are not the end goal.
Our D&I activities are aligned to six streams:
Social, educational or financial background – or a lack of connections – should never be a barrier to success. To that end, we have partnered with the Social Mobility Foundation to create a programme to promote social mobility and racial equality in professional careers. We've also been recognised as a top 20 employer in the 2020 Social Mobility Employer Index.
Race and ethnicity
We have ambitious targets to broaden our representation among different races and ethnicities, and bring in talent from under-represented groups.
Our global Black Affinity Network (BAN) brings together lawyers of black African and black African Caribbean heritage from across the firm. In 2020, we launched BANbassadors – a group of our lawyers who have identified themselves as allies.
Our award-winning Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme addresses the disproportionate under-representation in City institutions of black men from low-income households. Some scholars, including Folarin Odunubi and Panashe Jinga, have gone on to accept training contracts with us.
Ensuring we have a gender balance across our partnership is a priority. A number of initiatives are helping us create a pipeline of diverse talent and helping them reach their potential.
Our 12-month global sponsorship programme is a tailored learning and development opportunity for female lawyers. A sponsoring partner and coaching sessions help women on the programme build the skills needed to reach their full potential.
The EDGE Commitment, developed by our London Women’s Network in collaboration with colleagues across the firm, promotes gender equality through empowering everyone to take very practical, everyday actions in to bring incremental, tangible changes to help foster equality. And the Equal Representation in Arbitration (ERA) Pledge, founded by Freshfields partner Sylvia Noury, has over 4,000 signatories from more than 110 countries.
We strive to build a welcoming and positive environment so that everyone – including our LGBTQ+ employees – is comfortable to bring their whole self to work.
Disability and inclusion
Committed to being a disability-inclusive employer, if you require any adjustments to support your application, please let us know – we are always happy to help.
We partner with Business Disability Forum, which helps organisations become disability smart, and Myplus Consulting, which helps us to be employers of choice for talented students with disabilities.
We also host graduate disability-focussed events in partnership with EmployAbility and our Enabled network bring together disabled colleagues and champions to make Freshfields more inclusive.
Mental health and wellbeing
Our ongoing commitment to creating the right environment to foster open and frank communication underlines the importance placed on mental wellbeing at Freshfields, which forms part of our broader approach to wellbeing at the firm.
We are driving this conversation at all levels in a number of ways, including (in partnership with Mental Health First Aid England) a fully trained Global Mental Health Support team, equipped with the skills to recognise, support and provide guidance to those who may be experiencing mental health issues.