This article first appeared on International Women's Day.
At Kennedys, our core values (being approachable, distinctive, straightforward and supportive) underpin everything we do and are the foundation of our distinctive culture. The driving goal across our values is to make a difference, and we recognise a diverse and inclusive workforce is key to achieving this goal.
Kennedys has grown from a UK-only firm, to a dynamic, global firm spanning 40+ offices as well as an expansive network of associations – so it’s critical we continue to represent the true diversity and spectrum of our people, our clients and our communities.
Our achievements to date align closely with our commitment to five of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, namely number 10 – ‘reduced inequalities’. We are totally committed to increasing the representation of women and ethnic minorities in senior management positions and at partnership level. In 2020 we achieved our 30% female partnership goal, and we are now aiming for a 40% female partnership by 2030.
Similarly, we are committed to widening the access to the legal profession and creating alternative pathways for people starting out in their legal careers. Although apprenticeships are relatively new in UK law firms, Kennedys was one of the first to embrace them in 2012. We were also one of the first law firms to offer both the traditional trainee route and the SQE route. The D&I benefits of routes to qualification, where you can ‘earn as you learn’, were one of the driving forces when we implemented these changes.
We have undertaken our first global D&I survey and used the findings to inform our new global D&I strategy. By conducting this survey, we have a benchmark against which we can measure our progress. We asked bold questions and took a frank look at our diversity make-up. The findings highlight the existing diversity at Kennedys but also identify areas in need of improvement. We want to provide an inclusive, supportive workplace so current and future talent are able bring their whole selves to work and truly thrive.
We’ve also established global and regional diversity inclusion groups, which are led by our people at all levels and exist to advise our leadership team on where we need to do better as firm.
Despite the progress we have made, we recognise we need to consistently be doing more to breakdown prejudices, stereotypes and biases that face women.
Every day I am fortunate to get to work with some of the most talented and professional women in the legal and insurance industries. Women who are paving the way for future generations and whose achievements deserve to be celebrated today and every day.
It’s down to all of us to help #BreaktheBias, so I hope you will join me in celebrating International Women’s Day 2022.