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We are committed to creating an inclusive workplace based on a culture of openness and mutual respect. Our focus is on gender, ethnicity, LGBT+, social mobility, neurodiversity and wellbeing. An inclusive, forward-thinking culture also enables us to provide innovative solutions to our clients.

During 2018 we ran a firm wide programme on fostering an inclusive culture. The aim was to raise awareness and increase the dialogue around this. We then consulted extensively through staff groups and took feedback from other channels. This culminated in the launch of 25 People Commitments aligning to three main strands:

· Balance: Helping staff to juggle work, family and personal commitments.

· Clarity: Ensuring transparency, clarity and fairness.

· Development: Supporting staff through the various stages of their careers.

The firm is actively implementing these Commitments, which underpin our ongoing initiatives in support of diversity and inclusion.

We have four staff networks which provide opportunities for peer support, networking and personal development: Balance (for gender and family support), LGBT & friends, BME & friends and EnABLE (for disability, neurodiversity and mental health).

Macfarlanes is a founder member of the new Reignite Academy, a collaborative, legal sector initiative which provides opportunities for experienced lawyers to return to the profession after a career break. In 2019 we ran a bespoke Female Lawyers Forum which provides regular opportunities for practical and constructive discussion and networking for all our female lawyers.

The firm has also introduced a back-up care service with My Family Care which is offered cost free to all staff to enable them to book up to six emergency care sessions per year for children or for other people for whom they care, such as aging parents. In 2019 Macfarlanes took part in the My Family Care Parental Leave Policy & Reward Benchmark. Over 250 companies provided details of their current policies and benefits for maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental leave. Macfarlanes was ranked first for the legal sector.

We work with a number of organisations to attract more diverse talent at graduate level, including Rare Recruitment, Aspiring Solicitors, Bright Network and PRIME. When we recruit graduates, we run CV blind interviews and use contextual recruitment which enables us to understand the context of a candidate’s experiences and qualifications. This ensures that we recruit the best candidates regardless of their background. We have been using these processes for six years and our recruitment of graduates from ethnically diverse backgrounds has increased by 144%.

The firm has an annual voluntary mentoring scheme. In addition, all four year PQE female solicitors are also able to participate as mentees in the 30% Club cross company mentoring scheme and some of our senior partners and heads of business services participate as mentors.

Our wellbeing programme offers physical and mental health support. Resilience training was delivered to the whole firm in 2018. Trainees and junior solicitors are offered additional workshops each year and we are looking into a bespoke programme for senior solicitors. In 2019 we launched the Guardians - a group of volunteer staff including partners who are trained to listen and act as a confidential support for colleagues who have something they want to share, but are unsure about the best way to do so.

Legal Developments by:
Macfarlanes LLP

  • Finding the 
right words

    In the recent case of Newbury v Sun Microsystems [2013], the defendant argued that an offer to settle proceedings was ‘in principle' only and that a binding contract could not be formed until further terms had been agreed and a formal contract had been signed. It supported this argument by referring to a statement, in the offer letter, that the settlement was to be ‘recorded in a suitably worded agreement'. 

    - Macfarlanes

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