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Our aim is to foster an inclusive culture throughout the firm, from entry level to partnership. It is about recruiting, retaining and promoting all groups in the firm fairly, and we are caoffice_idully reviewing our processes to ensure that everyone has the same chance to develop and advance. An inclusive, forward-thinking culture also enables us to provide innovative solutions to our clients.

We are particularly focused on improving the retention and development of our female talent in all areas of the firm. We are members of the 30% Club - established with the aim of having 30% women on every FTSE-100 board. There are specific challenges for professional services firms and we are working collaboratively with other firms to accelerate progress across the profession. In autumn 2017, the firm joined the 30% Club cross company mentoring scheme with 40 other organisations across the City. All four year PQE female solicitors across the firm are able to participate as mentees and some of our senior partners and heads of business services participate as mentors. We appreciate that greater transparency about paths into senior roles is important and this area is being improved as part of the career progression programme.

Social and cultural diversity at intake. In 2014, the graduate recruitment team redesigned elements of our recruitment processes to ensure that we recruit the best candidates regardless of their background. Macfarlanes was one of the first signatories to Rare Recruitment’s Contextual Recruitment System which enables us to understand the context of a candidate’s experiences and qualifications. This is a useful tool because it shows a candidate’s actual A-Level grades against the average for their school, as well as other social mobility factors, thereby helping to level the playing field between candidates from different backgrounds. Our partnership with Rare Recruitment helps us to attract training contract and vacation scheme applications from young people from black and ethnic minority (BME) communities.

We are also members of Aspiring Solicitors which enables us to better reach students from a variety of backgrounds across a broad spread of universities. As part of this we currently have six firm ambassadors who are available to offer advice to Aspiring Solicitors’ members. We also run two full-day events each year specifically for Aspiring Solicitors’ members that comprise mock assessments, skills and networking sessions. Macfarlanes is a signatory to PRIME, a commitment by the legal profession to provide fair access to high quality work experience to students from less privileged backgrounds. As a result, our relationship with Pathways to Law enables us to offer meaningful work experience to students enrolled in the programme who would not otherwise have this opportunity. Pathways is an innovative widening participation initiative to provide opportunities for students from state schools in England who are interested in a career in law and will be first generation attendees at university. The programme targets students from under-represented backgrounds and provides support throughout years 12 and 13, and beyond into university.

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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