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Anna Ward

Anna Ward is City editor at Legal Week. She joined the title in January 2015 after spending three years with energy information provider Platts. She writes news and features about a number of leading UK and US law firms, as well as covering the Middle East and private equity.

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Law Firms Mentioned

<a href="http://www.almcms.com/contrib

  • Ashurst
  • CMS Cameron McKenna
  • Clifford Chance
  • DLA Piper
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Linklaters
  • Norton Rose Fulbright

/uploads/sites/378/2017/10/Sandra-Wallace-DLA-Piper-1-Article-201710231741.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-68916" src="http://www.almcms.com/contrib

  • Ashurst
  • CMS Cameron McKenna
  • Clifford Chance
  • DLA Piper
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Linklaters
  • Norton Rose Fulbright

/uploads/sites/378/2017/10/Sandra-Wallace-DLA-Piper-1-Article-201710231741.jpg" alt="" width="620" height="372" /></a> Sandra Wallace never imagined she could make partner, let alone gain a leadership position. ���Being a lawyer and getting onto the executive board of a global law firm��is inconceivable for a person from my background. My father was a painter and decorator and my mother was a housekeeper.��� Wallace (pictured) is now DLA���s UK managing partner, a role she has held since 2015. She was appointed partner in the firm���s employment practice in Birmingham in 1992. But at eight of the UK���s 10 largest law firms that provided data to��<em>Legal Week</em>��for this feature, only 7% of UK-based partners, on average, are from ethnic minority backgrounds. This does not reflect the UK population as a whole. At the time of the last census in 2011,��13% of the��UK population, equivalent to around 8.1m people, identified themselves as black, Asian or an ethnic minority (BAME). However, many firms do surpass the national average when it comes to UK-based junior lawyers. At the magic circle, 29.5% of UK lawyers (excluding partners) at Clifford Chance this year are from BAME backgrounds while at A&amp;O, 23% of associates and 28% of trainees are BAME. Freshfields and Linklaters have yet to report 2017 figures, but for 2016 the former firm reported 13.5% for BAME associates while the latter reported 19% for junior associates and 18% for the senior band. Hogan Lovells and CMS Cameron McKenna declined to participate. According to black partners at leading UK firms in London, social class is a bigger barrier than ethnicity in this country, which could be one reason that may go some way towards explaining why, at least at a junior level, BAME candidates are not necessarily underrepresented. <a href="http://www.almcms.com/contrib

  • Ashurst
  • CMS Cameron McKenna
  • Clifford Chance
  • DLA Piper
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Linklaters
  • Norton Rose Fulbright

/uploads/sites/378/2017/10/39773_0151-Article-201710241325.jpg"><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-68967" src="http://www.almcms.com/contrib

  • Ashurst
  • CMS Cameron McKenna
  • Clifford Chance
  • DLA Piper
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Linklaters
  • Norton Rose Fulbright

/uploads/sites/378/2017/10/39773_0151-Article-201710241325-300x180.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="180" /></a>Ashurst City private equity partner David Carter (pictured) says: ���From my working class background, there can be a fear that you are out of your depth, you���ve worked during the summers at university and never gone traveling on a gap year and that you have nothing in common with the well connected people involved in the international world of business and this stops people thinking that this is a job for them. Wrongly.����� Wallace adds:�����I went to a polytechnic ��� Wolverhampton University ��� and everyone told me, ���You���ll never get a job���. Its an environment that a lot of people��still��won���t be used to. Thats why having a mentor is so important.��� Law firms are making more efforts to address this, with a number of examples of initiatives aimed at UK state school pupils and candidates who are of the first generation in their immediate family to attend university. But when it comes to career progression within law firms and actually making partner, BAME lawyers face a much more subtle challenge: unconscious bias. As Carter says: ���The pernicious nature of racism is that you don���t know if you���ve been held back from opportunities. How do I know what people have said in the corridors once I���ve walked past? I don���t, but��I would like to��think��that��if they have a problem they��would��tell me.��� <a href="http://www.almcms.com/contrib

  • Ashurst
  • CMS Cameron McKenna
  • Clifford Chance
  • DLA Piper
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Linklaters
  • Norton Rose Fulbright

/uploads/sites/378/2017/10/Paulette-Mastin_RZ-Article-201710231747-1.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-68915" src="http://www.almcms.com/contrib

  • Ashurst
  • CMS Cameron McKenna
  • Clifford Chance
  • DLA Piper
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Linklaters
  • Norton Rose Fulbright

/uploads/sites/378/2017/10/Paulette-Mastin_RZ-Article-201710231747-1-300x180.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="180" /></a>Meanwhile, Linklaters City capital markets counsel Paulette Mastin (pictured) comments: ���It has not been a plain sailing type of experience. The main barrier to progressing one���s career as a woman of colour is bias. That is the single biggest challenge to BAME progression.��� She adds: ���It can affect things like work allocation, being considered for stretch assignments, these things can be difficult to put a finger on. Also, not being given those opportunities where you could raise your profile and get the best visibility.��� Mastin is also co-Sponsor of Linklaters��� BAME Network and the Chair of the��<a href="http://www.blacksolicitorsnetwork.co.uk/" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=http://www.blacksolicitorsnetwork.co.uk/&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1508838259046000&amp;usg=AFQjCNE3DozgYhJahbCTotQgGlEHtobaAA">Black Solicitors Network</a>��(BSN). Since Mastin founded the BSN group in 2008, its membership has swelled from around 30 BAME lawyers in the City to over 400. Furthermore, while law firms are seeking to address the lack of female partners with targets, BAME targets are far less prevalent. Of the top ten UK law firms, only Norton Rose Fulbright confirmed it had an ethnicity target in place, and this is��just for trainee level (the firm aims for a representation target of 25% and currently 27% of its trainees are BAME). Meanwhile, some firms confirmed they are either considering introducing targets or prioritising BAME representation as part of their overall strategies. It is understood that Ashurst is considering broadening its gender targets (the firm has committed to a 25% female partnership by 2018) to ethnic minorities in 2018. Meanwhile, a Linklaters press spokesperson confirmed that at the firms most recent <a href="http://www.legalweek.com/sites/legalweek/2017/04/19/linklaters-scraps-individual-partner-targets-in-effort-boost-focus-on-teamwork/">firm-wide strategy review</a> in April, race and ethnicity were highlighted as "a priority strand, with the aim of improving our figures". At DLA Piper, Wallace says that despite the absence of targets, the firm expects suggestions for new hires and promotions to be diverse, both in terms of ethnicity and gender. ���If you put up a list that looks all male and white then��that list will��be challenged.��� Mastin suggests that law firms should establish aspirational targets for recruitment, retention and promotion and report against these annually. ���As a measure, that is something in my view that should be considered. It goes hand in hand with targeted initiatives such as sponsorship, mentoring and leadership programmes.��� Wallace adds: ���From a personal perspective I think we are frightened of targets��and quotas��and we shouldn���t be.��That should be the debate on the table.��� Ultimately, while many top UK law firms take in plenty of BAME candidates at a junior level, the lack of ethnic diversity in their partnerships is stark. As well as potentially introducing targets, law firms also need to recognise that unconscious bias could be a silent but significant factor limiting BAME lawyers��� progression to partner. Mastin concludes: ���If you look at bias, at its core, it informs your actions and, left unchecked, can reinforce systems of marginalisation. Going forward, those who are in a position of power and decision making,��Linklaters included, need to acknowledge the challenges of their BAME colleagues.��� <

  • Ashurst
  • CMS Cameron McKenna
  • Clifford Chance
  • DLA Piper
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Linklaters
  • Norton Rose Fulbright

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