Baker McKenzie isn’t neutral in promoting diversity

In late 2014, Baker McKenzie, one of the world's largest law firms, established Global Services Belfast (GSB). Since then, it has become a 'hub' for innovation, integrating legal and business services to deliver for clients all over the world.


The firm now employs almost 300 people in 31 legal and support functions and led by Executive Director James Richards.

The impact on the delivery of services throughout the firm has been hugely significant, with 77 global offices reaping the benefits of their highly-trained and readily available pool of legal and business professionals.

What Baker McKenzie did

Baker McKenzie champion diversity and inclusion. In its Belfast office, women make up 53% of its staff and 63% of its management team.

Baker McKenzie’s initiative, the LeanIn Circle allows members to meet in small groups once a month to support each other and learn new skills. They talk openly about their ambitions and encourage each other to take on new challenges. The LeanIn circle ensures that Baker McKenzie’s future women leaders are equipped with the necessary skills and have the confidence to aspire to and achieve their full potential within the firm.

Through Business in the Community’s Gender Project, Baker McKenzie’s HR team carried out an audit of its gender related policies and procedures, implemented an action plan to address any gaps, and continued to measure their progress. International Women’s Day is celebrated annually, with talks from a range of global leaders and presentations on key issues such as imposter syndrome.

Designed to support mothers returning to work, the Back to Business programme provides an external network with coaching sessions and access to a range of key speakers on relevant topics including flexible working arrangements for all Baker McKenzie staff.

Baker McKenzie is a designated Advocate office, publicly supportive of LGBT+ equality. It also partners with LGBT youth charity, Cara-Friend to deliver LGBT+ Inclusive teacher training to all staff.

Baker McKenzie has also launched an LGBT+ equality campaign called We Are Not Neutral that aims to help support individuals of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Part of this campaign is the BakerAllies network which encourages staff to pledge to respect and include all people, regardless of their perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, to visibly and actively support LGBT+ colleagues, and to take action to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • Ranked 6th on Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers 2018, a list that recognises companies for their overall inclusive policies and practices for lesbian, gay and bisexual staff. Baker McKenzie also featured in Stonewall’s first list of Britain’s top ten transgender inclusive employers
  • Partnership with LGBT youth charity, Cara-Friend to deliver LGBT+ Inclusive teacher training
  • Learning and development opportunities for all staff from formal dignity at work training, peer-to-peer support groups and guest speakers
  • Social events to raise awareness and celebrate key dates including International Women’s Day and Pride; as well as internal communication and external advocacy through social media
  • 65% of staff signed up to the BakerAllies network

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