Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion

Stevens & Bolton is committed to providing equal opportunities and encouraging diversity and inclusion in employment. It is the firm’s policy to promote an environment free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

Our policies and practices apply to all stages of the recruitment process, and to the development and promotion of employees during their career at the firm.

We are committed to treating individuals fairly and giving everyone an equal chance. We believe that it is important to constantly promote an inclusive culture that encourages everyone to realise their full potential and to be themselves at work, and that through that approach comes true teamwork and strength.

A key diversity challenge for many large law firms is the gender balance at senior levels of the firm. At Stevens & Bolton, 38% of our partners are women (as a comparison, the UK law firm average is 27-33%). To see full details of our diversity statistics for 2019 please click here

We are a member of The Law Society’s Diversity and Inclusion charter, a public commitment by legal practices to promote the values of diversity, equality and inclusion throughout their firm.

Our strategy

To support our diversity and inclusion commitment, we engaged consultants from The Inclusive Group to help us understand how we could better improve diversity and inclusion at the firm. Employees have participated in focus groups and shared ideas. As a result, a Diversity and Inclusion Forum has been established, consisting of more than 25 individuals from across the firm, including secretaries, trainees, associates, partners, and those working in our business services teams. The D&I Forum inputs into the firm’s strategic plans and acts to implement a Diversity and Inclusion action plan. Four sub-groups of the Forum have been established to progress the identified areas for action at specified milestones during that period.

The sub-groups are supported by Forum members Jenny Robertson, a partner in the corporate team who acts as the firm’s diversity partner, and Amanda Rose, Head of HR and L&D. Jenny and Amanda regularly report to the firm’s management board and strategy board on priorities and progress of the Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, and help the management and strategy boards to take D&I issues into account in their decision-making.

 

The firm’s vision is to be an inclusive firm that embraces diversity and nurtures and rewards talent and we are committed to achieving that vision.

Jenny Robertson

Our diversity and inclusion initiatives

Outlined below are the various initiatives we have taken to promote meaningful change and to allow our workspace to be as diverse and inclusive as possible.

  • Training

    We have run a series of unconscious bias workshops for all employees, to understand why diversity and inclusion relates to all of us, explore unconscious bias and the implications on our decision-making and behaviour, and understand our role in creating an inclusive culture. These workshops will form part of our wider diversity and inclusion training.

  • Social mobility

    Stevens & Bolton is proud to be a member of PRIME which aims to broaden access to the legal profession, so as to enable young people from less privileged backgrounds (who might otherwise not have the opportunity), to access careers in the legal world. The programme for PRIME students is led by the CSR Committee

  • Mental health/wellbeing

    At Stevens & Bolton we are committed to encouraging good mental and physical health of our employees. Here are a few examples of what we have been doing to promote this:

    - Three mental health first aiders were appointed in 2019. The role of a mental health first aider at the firm is to be a first point of contact for any employee who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress and they are trained to provide support and to ensure early and appropriate assistance if required.

    - We hold regular wellbeing events with external specialist support covering topics such as nutrition, exercise, establishing healthy habits and building resilience.

    - ​Our employees have access to an employee assistance programme and occupational health services for confidential advice and support.

  • Recruitment

    In March 2019, Stevens & Bolton was the first firm outside of London to sign-up to the Reignite Academy. The initiative provides opportunities for lawyers who have taken a break from their careers to return to private practice.

    Launched in September 2018, the Academy provides successful candidates with a six-month paid period of work experience and training with a view to 'reigniting' their careers. Further information about The Reignite Academy can be found here.

    Stevens & Bolton joined the programme alongside eight City firms. Each firm sees this as an important part of their future talent strategy and an opportunity to use a new avenue to find experienced, talented lawyers. 

    Sarah Williams was our first employee recruited via the Reignite programme, joining the corporate team in September 2019. Louise Corcoran joined the restructuring and insolvency team via Reignite in March 2020 and has now moved to a permanent role in that team, and our third Reignite associate is due to start in October 2020.

    Here is what Louise has to say about her experience of the Reignite Academy and Stevens & Bolton.

  • Networking

    WIGwam – Women in Guildford: work and mentoring

    WIGwam is a networking group for women working within the professional services sector in and around Guildford, providing opportunities to meet and grow a network in a relaxed and fun environment, helping to develop peer-to-peer support, contacts and mentoring opportunities. WIGwam organises regular lunchtime and evening events, some involving guest speakers and other being more informal social events.

    WIGwam was set up in 2018 and founded by 6 women from leading professional services firms in the region. One of the founding members is Kate Schmit, partner and head of the corporate tax and equity incentive practice at Stevens & Bolton.

  • Policies

    We have adopted working policies and procedures and are fully committed to enabling and supporting flexible working for all lawyers. 

    We have reviewed our maternity policy to improve return to work support and coaching for maternity returners.

  • Systems

    We have implemented an inclusive culture tool, Culture Amp, to enable us to monitor the mood of the team, with a particular focus on inclusion, and also to conduct regular ‘pulse surveys’ to test reaction and feedback on specific questions or issues. We use the results of the inclusion surveys to inform our D&I action plan and other management issues, to benchmark against our peer group of professional services firms and to monitor our progress over time.

Search our site