Urban Lawyers co-hosted a panel discussion event with the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP on Thursday 26 May 2016. The topic of conversation was ‘Diversity in the legal industry’. The panel comprised of men and women from different backgrounds willing to give a frank assessment of how they view diversity in the legal profession to date.
The panel included Vanessa Blackmore, Corporate Partner and Craig Jones, Finance Partner & Deputy Managing Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP; Natalie Carter, an Urban Lawyers stalwart and Associate at Mayer Brown LLP; Dee Sekar, a Diversity and Inclusion specialist at Chambers & Partners; and, Bianca Stewart, Associate at Covington & Burling LLP.
The panellists began the discussion by explaining their various career pathways. It was then opened to the audience to put their own questions to the panel. One of the key issues that came out of the event was how the legal industry works to improve the retention and promotion of lawyers from under-represented groups. Craig highlighted the steps Sullivan & Cromwell LLP are taking to get more women and minorities into its partnership. Vanessa highlighted that having children should not be an obstacle for women seeking senior positions in their legal careers. Dee strongly emphasised the need for inclusion in law firms. She commented that waiting 10-15 years was not good enough as law firms have had decades to become more inclusive. Bianca highlighted that changes are being made in the legal profession and that law firms are recognising the need to be more inclusive.
In the end the panel was unanimous in agreeing that more needed to be done. However, although it is a slow process, inclusivity is something which is becoming increasingly important to law firms as well as clients. Urban Lawyers is pleased to be part of the discussion as well driving this very important issue forward.
Urban Lawyers would like to thank everyone who came to the event including Sullivan & Cromwell LLP for providing the venue and hospitality. If you have been inspired by this event or want to find out more about Urban Lawyers, please check out our website at http://www.urbanlawyers.co.uk or find us on Twitter: @Urban_Lawyers, Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/urbanlawyers and LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/urbanlawyers
17 June 2016