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Sustainability Report: Diversity and inclusion

With offices worldwide, understanding, valuing and incorporating difference is woven into our culture. Like most law firms, we are not yet where we’d like to be and are working to improve our performance.

Our goals

  • 30% of all partners to be women by 2025 (40% by 2030).
  • At least half of all future internal partner promotions to come from underrepresented groups from now on.
  • Ensure our Business Services population remains inclusive and representative through monitoring and targeted recruitment.

A strategic priority

We know there are areas where our business lacks diversity, particularly at partnership level. Today, just 21% of our International firm’s partners are women. We’ve made D&I a strategic priority across our business, ensuring that DLA Piper is a place where difference is valued, and people of all backgrounds have a fair opportunity to succeed.

Launching our international D&I strategy

« I’ve always felt I could succeed regardless of the colour of my skin. But when I started in the legal sector I quickly noticed that very few people looked like me. It made me feel as if the system was sort of built to exclude people who look like me. »
Felix Ndi-Obiosa, Of Counsel-Africa, Finance, Projects and Restructuring, in London

In March we launched our firmwide D&I strategy and goals. The strategy is the result of a year-long planning process. It was developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including our executive team and Board, international group heads, partners and our employee networks. Read more about our strategy in section 1.1 Diversity and inclusion of our Sustainability Report 2020/21.

Improving workplace gender balance

We have taken several steps to improve gender balance in our firm, including applying gender-balance principles across the full employee cycle, carrying out annual audits to reduce pay disparity, adjusting bonus targets to avoid excessively high hours targets, and ensuring promotions are inclusive, transparent and proportionate by publishing clear promotion criteria.

Learning from the murder of George Floyd

The murder of George Floyd by a US police officer in May 2020, and the wave of protests that followed it, sparked a period of reflection and learning for our UK business. Read more about our learnings and actions in section 1.1 Diversity and inclusion of our Sustainability Report 2020/21.

Improving social mobility in the UK and internationally

We have a strong track record as a leader in social mobility. In 2019, we were the first law firm to sign the Social Mobility Pledge, and published Levelling Up Law, the UK legal sector’s first social mobility road map. This year we will publish an internal Social Mobility Report covering our UK workforce. This will help us to set meaningful goals and track our progress in a transparent way.

We’re working to improve social mobility within and outside our firm through the way we run our graduate recruitment process, our apprenticeship programmes, and through several long-term, high impact outreach and partnership programmes. For more about Head Start and our other community partnership programmes, see section 1.1 Diversity and inclusion of our Sustainability Report 2020/21.

Staying engaged

Our employee networks played a crucial part in helping us learn, reflect and share our experiences in the diversity and inclusion space. Read more about PACT (Parents and Carers Team), Iris (our international network for DLA Piper’s LGBT+ community), LAW (Leadership Alliance for Women), Mosaic (our cultural and ethnic diversity network), and Enabled (our network aimed at supporting our people with disabilities) networks in section 1.1 Diversity and inclusion of our Sustainability Report 2020/21.

What’s next

Making progress depends on gaining an accurate understanding of people’s experiences within the firm. One of the key areas we will work on to support our strategy is better data collection and introducing country-level KPIs.

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