UK Diversity & Inclusion

We know an inclusive culture, alongside a diverse workforce, makes us more innovative and agile.

The ability to connect the dots and leap to inspired solutions can't be underestimated. We believe it’s this pioneering approach that unlocks a world of opportunity. So, we work tirelessly to build a culture that makes it possible – possible for our people, our clients, and our communities. We stay curious and work in truly international teams. It's what's our clients value and it helps us to be the firm we want to be.

Mansfield Rule - We are part of the first group of UK firms to share our intention to work towards Mansfield Rule UK certification. This requires considering at least 30% of historically underrepresented lawyers (women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic lawyers, LGBT+, and those with disabilities) for a variety of roles such as equity partner promotions, senior lateral hires, client pitches and leadership positions. Although the certification is in the UK, we will be adopting the principles globally.

Pioneer and bursary schemes - To increase diversity at graduate level we established our Pioneer Programme in 2012 and our Bursary Scheme in 2008. Both are designed to inspire and encourage talented students whose socio-economic backgrounds might otherwise prevent them from aspiring to or pursuing a legal career. 

Our Pioneer programme provides workshops to 14-16-year-old students over a three year period, culminating in two weeks of work experience. The students spend one week taking part in a programme designed and run by us, which provides a window into life at Bird & Bird. During their second week, they participate in the Social Mobility Business Partnership work experience scheme. If the students are then interested in pursuing a career in law, they can apply for the Bursary Scheme.

Our Bursary Scheme is a legal scholarship programme that seeks to address the financial hurdle that often deters people from socially disadvantaged areas of the country from attending University. The scheme provides grants and laptops to students to enable them to read law or complete a law-related degree at university. From our Bursary candidates, we have so far been able to offer eight students a Training Contract, which has helped increase the diversity of our Trainee Solicitors.

Social mobility and early careers D&I  -  We partner with several organisations which aim to remove barriers to inclusion and reduce discrimination for under-represented communities within the legal industry. For example, PRIME and the Social Mobility Business Partnership, of which we were a founding members.

We were one of the first law firms to sign a partnership agreement with Aspiring Solicitors when the organisation formed in 2013. The primary aim of Aspiring Solicitors is to increase diversity in the legal profession, specifically underrepresented groups, through skills workshops, mentoring schemes, assistance with training contract applications and events with partner firms. A significant number of our trainees have been recruited through Aspiring Solicitors and we continue to work closely with Chris White (founder) to ensure we are recruiting from the widest talent pool possible.

Inclusive recruitment

Rare Recruitment - we introduced the Rare Recruitment Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) for our graduate recruitment, in August 2018. The system uses data to help organisations identify candidates with the greatest potential despite their significant academic, personal or socio-economic disadvantage.

Contextualised recruitment – we introduced the Rare Recruitment Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) in 2018. The Contextual Recruitment System delivers two outputs to employers: flags to measure disadvantage, and a Performance Index (PI) to measure outperformance against students at the same school. Since its launch in 2015, the System has processed over 100,000 applications. Firms using the system see an uptick of 50% in the number of people they hire from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Reignite Academy – we are members of Reignite Academy, who provide support to women interested in returning to work after long term career breaks. We have worked with them to successfully place candidates who are looking for a new challenges after taking an extended time out of the legal industry.