Barclays’ Legal Team

Having just recently launched their ‘bring your whole self to work’ initiative, aimed at promoting inclusion in the legal team globally, GC spoke to Rhanda Moussa and Jane Son, in-house lawyers who are the co-heads for the diversity and inclusion committee for legal in the Americas and Mark Chamberlain, Barclays’ head of diversity in the Americas, to learn how this new initiative fits into the greater scheme of inclusion activities at the bank.

Rhanda Moussa: ‘Bring your whole self to work’ is our team’s new lens in which we define, progress and measure the strategic direction for diversity and inclusion across legal. We broadly work from three guiding principles, focusing on attract, retain and develop.

Attract focuses on our commitment to recruiting diverse candidates, while cultivating a culture in which people feel comfortable bringing their individuality and talent to work. Retain focuses on continuing to have a dialogue around D&I and celebrating our diverse talent. Develop is intended to ensure that we foster a culture in which all colleagues can thrive, and where everyone has the same opportunity to meet their full potential.

These guiding principles are supported by functional priorities, including, but not limited to, efforts to improve diversity in our candidate pools, listening to and accepting feedback from colleagues, and continuing to narrow diversity gaps. While this is a lens we use in legal, it equally applies to diversity across all of Barclays.

One way in which we support ‘bring your whole self to work’ is through promoting Barclays’ global diversity and inclusion strategy, which is comprised of five core pillars: disability, gender, LGBT, multicultural and multigenerational. Network engagement is a big part of growing the conversation around diversity – both in legal and across the bank.

Jane Son: While ‘bring your whole self to work’ is purely a legal initiative at the moment, we hope it will generate excitement across other teams globally. We also see this as potentially being a good source of influence into how other business functions at Barclays will think about diversity moving forward.

What is also noteworthy are the partnerships that we have built externally to support the diversity agendas on both sides. Law firms are very important to driving meaningful progress, especially when we think about making the connection between diversity and pro bono. One example is our pro bono program with Immigration Equality, the country’s leading non-profit focused on supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV+ immigrants seeking safety, fair treatment and freedom in the United States through asylum. This program allows our own lawyers to work alongside our law firm partners and the Immigration Equality team to take on asylum cases for individuals.

We also have wonderful relationships with outside non-profit organisations to help drive our diversity program forward. We work very closely with NJ LEEP, a Newark, NJ organisation that supports urban college minority youths from underprivileged communities, and prepares them for potential legal careers. We have a number of lawyers and legal professionals who have taken on leadership roles at NJ LEEP, as well as those who participate in things like apprenticeship and mentoring programs.

Mark Chamberlain: For legal, it’s important that our people feel connected to the firm-wide diversity initiatives that are rolled out in the region. For example, Barclays’ ‘Encore!’ program is specifically designed to help professionals who have taken a career break re-enter the workforce. Barclays launched the program in September 2016 by welcoming 12 ‘Encore!’ interns to the bank for a 10-week internship. Legal participated in the program by hosting one intern, thus giving the team access to a non-conventional source of talent.

Rhanda Moussa: Underscoring all of this work is our fundamental view that we want everyone to feel comfortable to bring their whole selves to work. All of what we do, from our pro bono efforts to providing access to the profession opportunities, are rooted firmly in our three pillars of attract, retain and develop. This really permeates how we are looking at talent and diversity and inclusion in Legal.