Diversity and Inclusion

Our people. Are people

As a firm we are only as good as our people – so we strive for diversity and invest in your wellbeing. We aim to create an environment that motivates everyone to be the best they can be while enjoying what they do.

Most importantly, we want you to be you.

We have a Diversity and Wellbeing team that works with partners and colleagues around the firm to deliver on our six strands of work:

Gender  |  Ethnic Diversity  |  Social Mobility  |  LGBT+  |  Mind and Body  |  Age


1. Gender

We’re working to rebalance our gender diversity at all levels of the firm, and particularly within senior and leadership roles.

Currently 25% of Partners are currently women and we aim to increase that percentage to at least 30% by 2022. Regardless of your gender, we want to give you what you need to achieve your full potential and succeed at the firm.

We have signed the Women in Law Pledge and are working to embed this within our business.

You can read a profile about our one of our Gender Champion’s Matt Edwards who talks about his experiences at Osborne Clarke and the work of the Gender Committee [LINK].

2. Ethnic Diversity

We want greater ethnic diversity at all levels of our firm.

Traditionally, people from Black, Asian and other ethnic minority (BAME) communities are underrepresented in legal and non-legal roles in law firms, particularly in senior or leadership roles. That has to change.

After holding listening events at the firm and reviewing our progress, we made two commitments to hold us accountable to deliver meaningful change: the Race at Work Charter and the Race Fairness Commitment.  And we’re developing our action plans to make sure we achieve those outcomes that will make Osborne Clarke a more representative workplace.

Attracting more candidates from a BAME background to our firm is just the start.

Like many of our diversity strands, we have an active network of colleagues, led by a senior partner, promoting awareness and building a more inclusive culture. The network runs mentoring and work experience schemes, hosts a variety of events including book clubs, and produces monthly newsletters which are shared widely across the firm.

Lakhmi Halaith talks about why she joined Osborne Clarke, her experiences as a trainee and how she co-founded the OC BAME network.

3. Social Mobility

We know that increasing social mobility is a powerful force for good.

Different backgrounds provide different perspectives, and that’s good for problem solving, and therefore good for business. That’s why we look to recruit candidates from a wide range of socially diverse backgrounds.

Our Social Mobility strand has recently established itself as a staff network. Though still in its infancy, it hopes to support and celebrate the social diversity within the firm while offering support to young people through our external outreach programmes with the Social Mobility Business Partnership and with VisionPath.

When recruiting, your potential is at the top of our priority list. To make our recruitment process more equitable, we’ve committed to using the RARE contextual recruitment system (CRS). The CRS enables us to further understand the context in which applicants’ experiences have been gained. As a result, approximately 12% of training contracts in 2020 were given to students who would have been overlooked for interview.

4. LGBT+

Our mission is to ensure that everyone can bring their whole self to work and feel that they belong.

That’s why we work with Stonewall and our active and committed LGBT+ employee network, OC Pride, to raise awareness and put supportive policies in place to make OC an environment where you can thrive.

We’ve supported Bristol Pride since 2019, held physical and virtual events covering allyship, and the Pride theme of Beautiful Strong Resilient and raises understanding of LGBT+ challenges through insightful blogs and meetings.

We’ve also demonstrated that we stand with our trans colleagues by supporting Stonewall’s Trans Rights are Human Rights campaign in September 2020.

All of our internal networks are led by senior partners and legal directors at the firm, all of whom are passionate about the need for diversity. You can read about our LGBT champion, Mark Foreman, who recently shared his Pride story in The Lawyer [subscription required].

You can read about Associate Charlotte Palmer, who trained at Osborne Clarke and is co-chair of the OC Pride network.

5. Mind and Body

Mental and physical health and wellbeing is critical to helping you to be at your best every day.

Back when offices were in vogue we tried to make them places where wellbeing was high on the agenda, with free fruit, regular yoga, mindfulness and pilates sessions and free flu jabs just some of the things that you could expect.

The pandemic has not changed our aims, just our delivery method. We have trained mental health champions around the firm who support the wellbeing of colleagues and spot any concerning signs early on. We’ve moved much of our provision online and put wellbeing top of the agenda for our managers.

Our Managing Partner Ray Berg recently recorded a video to encourage our people to talk about mental health.

We are also a signatory to the Mindful Business Charter, aimed at reducing unnecessary stress within the workplace.

If you think you might require any adjustments to participate in our recruitment process, then let us know and we’ll do all we can to support you.

6. Age

We value the contributions of all our people across all age ranges (no matter how many candles are on their birthday cake) and we know that it is important that we have equal respect for all generations.

That’s why Age is the newest of our six diversity strands.

The world of work is constantly changing. As younger generations come into the work force, we also expect more people to work longer into older age. So, we are shining a light on age inclusivity. We want to make sure we are prepared for the challenges and opportunities that come with a widening of what is considered ‘working age’ and that we support our people through all stages of their working lives.

Find out more about our approach to diversity and inclusion >

Our team