Foreword: DLA Piper on Diversity

Simon Levine and Mitra Janes discuss how nurturing people’s differences has translated into better business outcomes for DLA Piper.

When we talk about diversity, we’re referring to all the ways in which we are different – not just the differences we can see, such as gender or race.

Actually, people who look very different often behave in similar ways – either because they have been hired because they ‘fit’ into a particular firm or because they have assimilated into a firm’s culture. We need to focus on all aspects of diversity – working style, personality, talents, life experiences and background. It is through nurturing and leveraging these differences that we translate diversity into better business outcomes – and for us at DLA Piper, that means providing a broader and better range of solutions for our clients.

‘In a modern working world, it is of immense importance that values such as diversity and inclusion are actually lived by everyone. Only those who offer their employees a truly diverse and inclusive working environment can understand the needs of their highly diverse clients. At DLA Piper, we do that and we are proud of it.’

Ben Parameswaran and Konrad Rohde, co-managing partners, Germany

For a profession that is naturally risk averse and entrenched in tradition, it’s not surprising that the pace of change in relation to diversity and inclusion in the legal sector has been slow, and that there is much we can learn from other sectors. Whilst there are some challenges that are specific to the legal sector, achieving progress in improving diversity and creating an inclusive culture means addressing the structural issues and being prepared to make significant and meaningful changes.

We are delighted to support this report and we are grateful to all our clients and the specialists who took the time to share their insights. Through highlighting the role models and best practices included in this report, we are hoping to make a meaningful contribution to improving diversity and inclusion across the legal profession. We are absolutely committed to diversity and inclusion – it’s not just an issue for minority or under-represented groups, it’s everyone’s issue.

Simon Levine, global co-CEO and managing partner, and Mitra Janes, head of diversity and inclusion.