Wednesday 22 September 2021 11:46 am

Legal giant Ashurst: One in three of our new recruits will have ethnic minority background

International law firm Ashurst has announced wide-ranging diversity targets for both its global and UK offices to reach in the next five years.

The new targets expand the company’s focus areas to include more LGBTI+ representation, gender equality and ethnicity targets in the UK.

In its UK offices, Ashurst aims for 35 per cent of its annual trainees and 15 per cent of its partners and senior leaders to be “ethnically diverse” by 2026.

For each target, the law firm also set goals for the proportion of ethnically diverse staff to be black: At least 13 per cent of annual trainees, 13 per cent of legal staff and six per cent of its partners and senior leaders.

At a global level the firm committed to having four per cent of LBGTI+ representation at partnership and senior levels. Its renewed gender equality target for 2026 incorporates 20 per cent “flexible” people which Ashurst defined as women, men or non-binary persons, alongside 40 per cent women and 40 per cent men.

Since setting gender targets in 2018, global managing partner Paul Jenkins said, the law firm had “significantly improved the gender balance of promotions to partnership” from 58 per cent to 78 per cent.

According to Jenkins half of the Ashurst executive team are female while the proportion of females in legal leadership positions has increased to 30 per cent from 23 per cent in 2018.

Diversity and inclusion, said Ashurst global chair Karen Davies, is “a key strategic priority for the firm”.

She added that the new targets for 2026 were a key step to “accelerate change” at the firm.

The diversity targets, which were published yesterday, were set by the Ashurst board and executive team.