Focus on women
More than half of law firm trainees and graduates are women, yet female partners remain a minority at top UK firms. In 2009 just 12% of our partners in London were female and we needed to do something dramatic to increase gender diversity at this level.
Career Strategies Programme
We launched two linked modular development programmes, the first of their kind in the legal sector: the Career Strategies Programme (CSP) for high performing female lawyers and the Career Strategies Sponsors’ Programme (CSSP) for their managers.
The CSP programme provides core knowledge and skills development, networking opportunities with partners and senior management, and six formal executive coaching sessions.
- Women now represent 23% of all partners in London
- In 2012 and 2013 more than 60% of partner promotions in London were women
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Focus on access
We are committed to improve social mobility and making access to our firm fair and open so that every individual is free to achieve and succeed.
Insight and Inspire
We launched our Insight Programme as part of our commitment as founding members of Prime in 2010. The programme has grown year on year and each year we identify new schools to work with in addition to our founding collaborators, Mossbourne Community Academy. The programme runs annually offering five days over a six month period. Each student has a mentor and students participate in a range of workshops, projects and activities alongside work shadowing.
We run a second programme, Inspire, annually with young people from Pathways to Law and the Social Mobility Foundation offering students a week long programme or work experience, skills development training and project work aimed at developing their confidence and offering them exposure to legal work.
We operate an alumni programme for Insight and Inspire Programme students and encourage them to apply for open days, internships and training contracts.
Virtual work experience
We have recently partnered with the Financial and Legal Sector Skills Partnership to launch a virtual work experience programme. This programme allows us to virtually mentor students across the UK.
In 2012 we partnered with Durham University and the Ashington Learning Partnership and established a year long programme for twelve to fourteen year old students. The programme is designed to raise students aspirations and give them a taste of university life and the live of a lawyer.
Our Business Services Apprentice programme was established in 2011 and we have hired apprentices into both Finance and Human Resources roles. To support apprentices and help them achieve their potential we also offer bespoke skills development training and have established and Apprentice Forum where apprentices can air their views and make suggestions.
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Focus on networks
Our employee networks play a very important role in the firm. They foster professional development, create opportunities for networking and business development and increase our interaction with the community.
Each of our London networks are self-managed and operates under the philosophy that they are inclusive to all employees and anyone in the firm can join any network regardless of their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, age, marital or parental status or social background.
We have four networks in London.
Our “Family Matters” network launched in London in 2010 to bring together working parents and carers to share knowledge and experiences and to support them by providing appropriate learning and development and networking opportunities.
Our Pride network focuses on fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) professionals and staff, developing a network of allies, as well as to develop relationships with our clients' LGBT networks.
Our networks are open to all professionals and staff internationally, including LGBT individuals and allies who wish to support the LGBT community.
The network also hosts a range of social and networking events for our people and clients.
Women in Norton Rose Fulbright was established to provide learning, development and networking opportunities for women within the firm. The network aim to increase diversity and maximise the retention of women at Norton Rose Fulbright.
Compass aims to build an accessible, dynamic and cohesive network to educate and support both Muslim and non-Muslim employees and clients through networking, business development, community engagement and professional development.
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Focus on flexible working
Flexible working is open to all employees in London, not just parents and carers and anyone can make a request for any reason. Around 18% of all staff have a formal flexible working arrangement including job shares, reduced hours or days and term time working. Many of our people also work flexibly on a more informal basis.
In 2010 we conducted a review of flexible working to understand what our people think the real and perceived barriers are to making flexible working work. We conducted an online survey, hosted focus groups and held one to one interviews with team leaders and senior leaders. As a result we implemented measures to support employees and managers when negotiating and implementing flexible work arrangements. We also published internally flexible working case studies of successful arrangements told from both the employee and manager perspectives including examples from transactional teams.
In 2009, we launched an innovative flexible working initiative called “Flex” in the Norton Rose Group to eliminate the need to make redundancies in the difficult economic climate. This initiative was supported by 97 per cent of our London employees. The scheme was closed in January 2010 as general economic conditions improved. The Flex scheme was a huge success and was seen as an inclusive and workable initiative internally. We have managed the downturn without having to make any redundancies. The way the partners and staff worked together to make it such a success is a huge credit to our employees. We received two prominent awards for the scheme externally: The Lawyer 2010 HR award for Innovation in Talent Management and Retention, and the Legal Business 2009 award for Most Enterprising Law Firm of the Year.
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Focus on working parents
We recognise that becoming a parent is a pivotal time for both working fathers and mothers. It is important to us to support working parents as they make up a significant portion of our workforce.
We conducted a full review of maternity leave transitions in 2011 and asked all women who had been, were already on or were about to go on maternity leave about their experiences and what support they would like from the firm. As a result we implemented a Maternity Group Coaching programme for associates and managers and a one to one Maternity Coaching programme for partners. We also launched a managers workshop on Managing Parenting Transitions in 2013 and supplemented this with a resource pack for managers. The pack includes clear guidelines on what is expected from managers when managing expectant parents and re-engaging and reintegrating them back into work following leave.
All expectant parents receive access to our Parent Pack, a resource pack providing them with the tools they need to manage their handover before leave and guidelines for a smooth transition back to work. The pack also provides information about our policies, benefits for parents and sign-posts them to useful resources on our intranet.
Our Family Matters network provides a useful forum for parents to network and lunch time seminars on relevant topics to families are all well attended. Seminars are chosen to appeal to a broad range of people and sessions in the last twelve months included a workshop just for fathers on the changing role and expectations on fathers; mental health; family finances; raising resilient children; first aid for families and more.
Maternity retention, measured one year following return to work from leave, increased by 14% between 2011 and 2013. We recognise that we can still do more and will be launching further changes during the coming months to help meet the needs of working parents.
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