Diversity and Inclusion
We know that employing a diverse group of people from different backgrounds is key to our future growth and ongoing success. We strive to create and maintain an inclusive work environment in all our 30 offices where all of our people are seen as individuals and are each supported and encouraged to achieve, regardless of any difference.
In 2009, we launched our Bird & Bird Bursary programme, which aims to address the financial hurdle that often deters bright young people from socially deprived areas of the country from attending university. Our trainees are encouraged to get involved with this initiative by acting as mentors to our bursary students, guiding them through university and offering career advice and support. Now in it’s 10th year, this is one of our most successful programmes at the Firm and helps us to recruit from the widest pool possible to ensure we are hiring the best talent!
In 2012, we launched our Pioneer programme targeted at sixth form students, which provides insight, inspiration and information about careers in the legal profession and wider business world. Our trainees are heavily involved with all aspects of this programme, from assisting with the selection of Pioneer candidates to hosting workshops and buddying our Pioneer students during their work experience week with us.
We were one of the first law firms to sign a partnership agreement with Aspiring Solicitors when the organisation formed in 2013. The primary aim of Aspiring Solicitors is to increase diversity in the legal profession, specifically underrepresented groups through skills workshops, mentoring schemes, assistance with training contract applications and events with partner firms. A significant number of our trainees have been recruited through Aspiring Solicitors and we continue to work closely with Chris White to ensure we are recruiting from the widest talent pool possible.
Rare Recruitment Contextual Recruitment System
We introduce the Rare Recruitment Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) in August 2018. The Rare Contextual Recruitment System uses big data to help organisations identify candidates with the greatest potential despite their significant academic, personal or socio-economic disadvantage. The system works by combining publicly available information with candidates’ application responses. We use information from bespoke databases that we have built. For the UK, the first database contains the exam results of more than 4,000 secondary schools and sixth form colleges nationally; the second contains 2.5 million residential postcodes. The Contextual Recruitment System delivers two outputs to employers: flags to measure disadvantage and Performance Index (PI) to measure outperformance against students at the same school. Since its launch in 2015, the System has processed over 100,000 applications. Firms using the system see an uptick of 50% in the number of people they hire from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Employ-Ability is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to assisting students and graduates with all disabilities, including dyslexia or long term health conditions, into employment. We have partnered with Employ-Ability since 2017 to ensure our online application forms, interview guides and our assessment centre exercises are disability inclusive. In 2019, we ring-fenced two roles on our Summer Vacation Scheme programme for candidates with a disability. Employ-Ability assisted with the sourcing of disability candidates for these positions and we made offers to four Employ-Ability candidates for our 2019 Vacation Scheme following the successful Assessment Centre in February. We partner with Employ-Ability to provide us advice on adjustments for all candidates engaging in our recruitment process, vacation scheme students and trainees who may need adjustments in the workplace to ensure they are set up for success from day 1 at the firm.