The Law Society has been developing a new way to help our members and their organisations develop practice excellence in equality, diversity and inclusion.
We are moving away from the model of a charter commitment across all areas of diversity and inclusion to one that approaches this agenda in a modular format as an accreditation.
What’s being proposed?
The new suite of accreditations will cover gender; race and ethnicity; disability and wellbeing; LGBT+; and social mobility.
The accreditations will be offered over three levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold):
- Bronze - understanding your organisation and creating a baseline
- Silver - creating and sustaining impact
- Gold - being an exemplar organisation
The accreditation will allow organisations to use their own data to inform their narrative and identify areas where there is existing activity as well as identify areas for improvement, which can be set out through an accompanying action plan.
The application process will be overseen by the Law Society and applications submitted will be assessed by a panel of independent peer assessors, who will be made up of representatives from the legal profession and the process will be moderated by the Law Society.
We have been supported in our development phase by a working group represented by some existing charter signatories and they have helped us to identify how we can challenge the profession and drive standards in practice.
We are nearing the time to pilot our first module, which this year will focus on gender to support the presidential activity in promoting Women in Leadership in Law.
The pilot exercise will focus solely on the Bronze level, so that we are able to understand where firms currently are in their journey with gender equality, as well as gauge whether we are pitching the accreditation correctly at Bronze level.
This is a very exciting time for the Law Society, its members and stakeholders in the development of this new product and we would like to invite firms of all sizes to come forward to become involved in our pilot.
Your firm will help us understand if our proposal can meet the needs of our members and their firms, as well as drive practice excellence in this area.
If you think your firm would be up for the challenge to take part in our exciting six-month pilot, please provide us with your expression of interest by completing our survey.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to include in-house teams in this initial phase and we are continuing to develop opportunities for this community.
We are also looking for expressions of interest from individuals who would like to become peer assessors, who will be involved in assessing applications made by the firms on the pilot initially.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be involved in this process.
What’s in it for you?
You will be provided with guidance and support from our diversity and inclusion team throughout the pilot exercise in completing your submission for accreditation.
We are keen to ensure that there is diversity in the firms that are involved during this developmental stage and the support provided will be tailored to suit the needs of each firm as appropriate.
We would particularly like to encourage small firms and firms outside of London as well as firms that are keen to advance their equality, diversity and inclusion work and might not have the resources to do so.
If you would like to express an interest in becoming a peer assessor, full training will be provided for this role.