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Fasken Martineau, Freeths, Hogan Lovells and Linklaters named diversity leaders

Winners are 'an inspiration to continue in our endeavours in striving for an equal profession,' says Paulette Mastin

25 November 2015

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Last night's UK Diversity Legal Awards 2015 highlighted the achievements of a range of individuals, law firms and chambers.

The Black Solicitors' Network (BSN) awards, which are sponsored by Managing Partner, demonstrate the rising importance of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

"It was a great celebration of achievement in enhancing the diversity in the legal profession, an opportunity to reflect on and showcase the positive impact BSN has made in its 20 years and an inspiration to continue in our endeavours in striving for an equal profession," Paulette Mastin, chair of the BSN City Group and host of the event, told Managing Partner.

Hogan Lovells won the judged award for recruiting new talent, beating shortlisted firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters.

The transatlantic firm was honoured for its efforts to increase its number of trainees from economically disadvantaged and black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds through its 'widening access' graduate recruitment programme.

Magic-circle firm Linklaters won the judged award for talent management retention. The firm has a 12-month apprenticeship scheme within its business services which complements its 'learn to work' initiative that targets young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The success of the apprenticeship scheme was instrumental in the firm being named by the UK government as a social mobility business compact champion in November 2014. Linklaters has committed to meet strict criteria for social mobility within its workplace.

Other winners in the judged categories were: Shaunée James, an associate at Reed Smith, who was named a 'rising star' and Sally Penni, a barrister at Kenworthy's Chambers, who won the 'diversity champion' award.

Sophie Chandauka, head of group treasury (legal) at Virgin Money Group, was named outstanding lawyer of the year, while Walter H White, Jr, a partner at McGuireWoods, won the lifetime achievement award.

Within the non-judged categories, several organisations won awards as a result of their position within the diversity league tables.

Freeths was named firm of the year for providing an inclusive work environment in which there are no obstacles based on race, gender or any other characteristics.

"We have made fantastic progress towards achieving our vision of an inclusive and diverse workplace," chair Colin Flanagan told Managing Partner.

"Recent activities include re-launching our diversity strategy, embedding our equality policies, delivering unconscious bias training and celebrating a variety of religious and social festivals."

Linklaters won the award for top-10 City firm, while Fasken Martineau was named international firm of the year.

Coram Chambers was named the number one chambers in the UK for legal diversity.

"We are committed to excellence in representation and access to justice for all and we strongly believe that our internal diversity enhances our ability to deliver our key objectives," Alison Easton, chair of the executive board, told Managing Partner.

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