Diversity & Inclusion

Our approach to diversity and creating an inclusive workplace goes beyond just ticking a box.

Overview

We want everyone to be themselves at Travers Smith. We value everything that makes us unique and we recognise that celebrating our differences helps make the firm a special place to work.

Diversity is much more than how we look. It also includes how we think, our experiences, our views and our values.

We believe that true inclusion can only be achieved if we look at diversity in a broader and more holistic way, which breaks down silos and recognises the multiple identities we each carry.

Diversity by Design

Overview

Diversity by Design, Travers Smith's plan to tap into the world of the arts, which includes film, music, television, design and architecture, to help us build diverse, creative and collaborative teams and to develop an inclusive workplace.

Visual art can be a powerful way to instigate what can often be challenging topics relating to diversity and inclusion.

Visual art and BAME inclusion

Recognising that BAME (Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority) inclusion and visibility is particularly poor across a number of City institutions, we invited some of the artists participating in our CSR Art Programme to help lead a discussion about visual art, inclusion and BAME identities.

From the relationship between black women and their natural hair, to the interplay between ethnicity, sexuality and faith, the session explored some of the challenging and complex issues which can disproportionately affect BAME people.

Sponsored by our BAME network the discussion and themes raised will help inform the firm wide BAME inclusion action plan.

Micro aggressions & inclusive language

Words, language, actions and behaviours are powerful in terms of creating workplace cultures.  Inappropriate language and behaviours are often low level, insidious and unconscious. From unnecessarily gendered language to unconscious micro aggressions, these everyday instances can amplify feelings of inclusion and belonging.

We deliver a number of training and awareness raising sessions aimed at reducing biases, microagressions, and micro incivilities.

Empowering future LGBT+ leaders

Entering the workplace can be daunting experience for LGBT+ people. Many LGBT+ people come out at university, but a staggering 60 per cent go back into the closet when they start work. Having to conceal your identity or sexual orientation can be a big struggle. Research conducted by Stonewall  shows that people who are open about their sexuality at work are more likely to enjoy going to work, feel able to be themselves, form honest relationships with their colleagues, are more confident, and ultimately more productive.

There is a clear need therefore to empower young LGBT+ people to be confident in their identity and sexual orientation at work, and to support them in reaching their full career potential.

Developed in partnership with LGBT+ charity Just Like Us, we run a mentoring programmes aimed at giving LGBT+ graduates the skills, confidence and support as they transition from university life to full time employment.

The mentors come from diverse backgrounds within the LGBT+ community and are drawn from a wide range of industries and professions. They include; Brian Bickell, CEO Shaftesbury; Amy Lamé, The Mayor of London's 'Night Tsar'; former RAF pilot Ayla Holdom, This Morning's resident doctor, Dr Ranj Singh, and composer Raymond Yiu.

Partner, and Chair of the firm's LGBT+ Group, Daniel Gerring, who is also on the Trustee Board of JLU, said:

"The feedback we have received from the pilot year of this exciting mentoring programme has been fantastic and we are delighted to be working with Just Like Us, together with a fantastic group of mentors and mentees. The fact that over 80 per cent of the student ambassadors felt confident to start their first job openly LGBT+ highlights the role this scheme can play in supporting our future LGBT+ leaders, as well as some of the remaining challenges".

Trans inclusion

Overview

We believe everyone should feel able to be themselves, regardless of gender or gender identity. This is why we are dedicated to promoting trans inclusion across our firm and the wider community.

Great progress has been made across the UK in terms of inclusion for lesbian, gay and bi (LGB) people. However, many laws and systems which were amended or implemented to be more LGB inclusive did not recognise or accommodate trans people. In addition, research demonstrates that the lived experiences of trans people can disproportionately involve verbal, physical and psychological abuse, as well as discrimination in many walks of life. For example, almost half (48%) of trans people in Britain have attempted suicide at least once; 84% have thought about it. Two in five (41%) trans people have been attacked or threatened with violence in the last five years. 62% have experienced harassment from strangers in public places.

Promoting trans inclusion and visibility

To help promote greater trans inclusion and visibility at the firm, we have delivered the following:

  • Introduced gender neutral facilities in client and staff areas

  • Introduced a revised and more relaxed dress code policy, which explicitly states that people can dress in a way which is in line with their gender identity

  • Developed a suite of trans inclusive policies and best practice guides, including on non-binary identities

  • Delivered trans inclusive training for our front of house staff

  • Invited prominent trans leaders and activists to participate in firm wide seminars and events to share their own insights and experiences

BAME allyship

Allies, or people who are proactive and understanding of the challenges affecting diverse groups of people, can be instrumental in driving positive cultural change. As part of Black History Month, and our wider ambition of creating an inclusive workplace, we have developed a booklet to help embed ally behaviours into our culture. Focussing specifically on allyship for the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community, the booklet outlines 10 actions that allies can take to promote greater BAME inclusion in the legal industry, as well as the wider society.

The tips outlining effective allyship in the booklet have been developed in consultation with members of the BAME community, including athletes, human rights advocates and artists, and are based on the principles highlighted in industry and government reports on BAME inclusion.   

Its intention is to act as a conversation prompt, an opportunity for people to examine their own role as potential allies, and for us to share good practice on BAME inclusion and allyship. 

Read Travers Smith's BAME allyship booklet.

Mental health

Overview

We care about the mental wellbeing of our staff. Supporting each other during challenging times is crucial.

The ability to be open about mental health is critical to us. We are determined to promote a culture in which staff at any level feel comfortable in discussing a mental health issue without fear of being judged or criticised.

It is important that staff feel able to share personal stories and are confident in listening, talking and knowing how to support themselves and others with any issues.

More than just promises, we take meaningful action to ensure that our staff are provided with confidential access to mental health experts, advice and services whenever they need them.

That is why we deliver mental health first aid training, and offer free therapeutic and counselling services, as well as an effective Employee Assistance Plan, for everyone in the firm. We have also trained specialists in our HR team on mental health needs and ensure we create a friendly support network for all our staff at times of crisis.

Diversity and Gender Pay Gap reporting

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