Diversity & Inclusion, Allen and Overy | BITCNI Awards

Diversity & Inclusion: Allen and Overy

Allen and Overy is an international law firm with over 5,200 staff, including 530 partners, spanning 44 offices in 31 countries worldwide. 


The Belfast legal office, founded in 2011, employs 500+ staff across the Support Services and Legal Services Centre, providing support in legal work and core internal business processes.

What Allen & Overy did

Allen & Overy’s senior leaders seek to promote a positive and inclusive culture by establishing specific and measurable targets around diversity and inclusion.

It has sought to ensure explicit management support for LGBT+ and BAME inclusion through enhanced profiles of role models and allies, as well as the development of the A&Out and BAME brands.

In 2018, the organisation appointed standalone values partners and an independent ‘speaking up’ service to offer its people an alternative way to raise concerns, and ensure it continues to drive change by remaining observant of, and responding to, any barriers to success.

Allen & Overy supports equality, diversity and inclusion by ensuring core values are underpinned by robust, gender-neutral policies and processes, including ‘Professional Standards’, ‘Dignity at Work’, ‘Whistleblowing’ and ‘Disciplinary and Grievance’.

In 2016, a review of global policies identified a gap in trans-focused policies and materials.  In response, and in conjunction with Global Butterflies, Allen & Overy developed a ‘Transitioning at Work’ policy, gender-neutral signage and materials, and a dedicated micro-site.

All new joiners are required to undertake an e-learning module on D&I and professional standards within their first week of employment.  All staff and third party suppliers are trained annually on Dignity at Work policies and Allen & Overy’s expected standards.

The Families@A&O network hosts monthly seminars, facilitated by third party providers, which are available to all staff and similarly, in partnership with its LGBT+ network, A&Out, the organisation has hosted training for all staff in issues such as adoption, surrogacy, marriage and trans awareness.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • 55% increase in the number of direct referrals from existing employees
  • 8% reduction in absence days
  • Increase in employee wellbeing as line managers are empowered to identify issues and take preventative action
  • Relationships with like-minded organisations and clients, have enhanced the ability of the organisation to win more work and attract the best people
  • 61% of staff have joined staff-led networks, including A&Out, Families@A&O and Faith@A&O
  • £50k raised for the Rainbow Project

For more information, please email Ruth.McVeigh@AllenOvery.com