Pinsent Masons - thriving on diversity and inclusion | BITCNI

Pinsent Masons – thriving on diversity and inclusion

Pinsent Masons (PM) is an international, commercial law firm delivering high quality legal advice rooted in its deep understanding of the sectors across UK, Europe, Asia Pacific and Middle East locations.


It is well placed to advise on complex multi-jurisdictional transactions in the global energy, infrastructure, financial services, real estate and advanced manufacturing and technology sectors.

PM can trace its roots in Northern Ireland back to 1796 starting with L’Estrange & Brett; the oldest and largest law firm in Belfast at the time. It merged with Scottish firm McGrigors in 2009, then merged again with PM – an international law firm headquartered in London in 2012. Locally PM is involved in some of the biggest deals and transactions in Northern Ireland.

What Pinsent Masons did

Pinsent Masons has a thriving diversity and inclusion employee network with six diversity groups.   These provide mentoring, opportunities for networking and engagement, and input into policies and procedures. Groups are open to all staff and focus on issues such as gender, family support, LGBT, disability, faith and race. Its Allies network supports LGBT colleagues and shares initiatives and best practice.

The Project Sky initiative was launched by Pinsent Masons in 2013 to create a better balance of male and female representatives in the organisation and in senior leadership positions at the firm. The project looks at managing talent, gender balance shortlists, career progression for LGBT employees and addressing unconscious bias, and it has made great strides in gender diversity throughout the organisation. The next phase includes being more inclusive to men in the workplace.

Pinsent Masons PRIME and SORTED work experience programmes aim to remove bias for all graduate intake programmes.

It has developed an innovative partnership with mental health campaigners, Neil Laybourn and Jonny Benjamin in the UK and participates in Wellbeing Week, an annual week of awareness raising activity across Pinsent Mason’s global office network. Mental Health awareness training is also provided for partners and line managers.

Positive changes have been made to the company’s Transgender Guidelines, Adoption & Surrogacy Guide, and New and Expectant Mothers’ Policy and it has considered issues for same sex parents, transgender employees and expectant mothers.

Management and leadership teams have attended new face-to-face Inclusive Leadership training, globally, with key suppliers invited to attend this training on a pro bono basis as part of its commitment to responsible supply chain management.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • Recognised as Diversity Champions by the Rainbow Project locally, and by Stonewall in the UK
  • 44% of the Belfast office are members of a Diversity Network Group, and more than 23% are part of the Allies network
  • Target of 25% female partners globally achieved 12 months ahead of schedule
  • 96% of LGBT respondents to the 2017 Stonewall Workplace Equality Survey said that they felt comfortable being themselves at work and would be happy to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity on an employer monitoring form
  • 85% of management and leadership teams have attended new face to face Inclusive Leadership training, globally
  • Established a facilities-led gender identity working group
  • Dress code and uniform policies amended to be inclusive of gender neutral staff and data entry systems changed to include the gender neutral title ‘MX’
  • Developed a new relationship with the charity, Mermaids, supporting gender diverse and transgender children and young people
  • Supported 30 young people through the SORTED work experience programme; 100% have gone into employment, education or training, with recognition in the 2017 Social Mobility Index for this work

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