Lawyers Launch Special Events To Mark Black History Month

Irwin Mitchell Colleagues Produce an E-book And Role Model Events To Inspire The Next Generation of Black Lawyers

To mark Black History Month this October, colleagues at Irwin Mitchell have come together to organise an e-book celebrating Black culture and cuisine and a special series of events aimed at inspiring the next generation of black lawyers by initiating positive conversations about race.

The team are currently collating recipes from colleagues, clients and friends of the firm which will form an e-cookbook featuring African, Caribbean and Southern Soul inspired food and drinks, together with the thoughts of the contributors on what Black History Month means to them. The team are aiming to publish the e-cookbook towards the end of the month and will encourage readers to donate to Black Minds Matters UK and the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.

On 15 October the firm are hosting an internal role models event featuring a range of talented Black guest speakers who will recount their own stories and experiences of the legal industry.

The e-book and events have been organised by IM Respect, the firm’s internal group which aims to support colleagues and raise awareness of issues relating to race, religion and ethnicity.

As well as sharing stories from Black colleagues and their families from around the firm, colleagues are also using the month to encourage greater allyship and have produced a guide for colleagues. They’ll also be promoting their zero tolerance approach to racial bulling, harassment and discrimination.

The race protests following the tragic death of George Floyd and racial inequalities highlighted by Covid-19 give this year’s Black History Month added significance. As a result, the firm accelerated and amplified its current plans to improve diversity and inclusion around race, specifically in terms of attracting, developing and maintaining more talented Black colleagues.

Since the firm issued their commitment and action plan to Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter, earlier this year, around 300 colleagues have attended sessions to discuss their attitudes toward race. The insights gained will be used to develop their action plan further.

Expert Opinion

“We mark Black History Month each year but the tragic events of this year have inspired us to make this our biggest celebration of Black culture and history to date. We’re looking forward to celebrating some amazing role models, sharing and learning about Black history and culture via our e-book while raising funds for some amazing charities.

“We have some phenomenally talented Black colleagues within our business who’ve kindly shared their stories to mark this year’s occasion. And, while there is plenty more we can do to welcome and inspire more diverse talent into our business, we are whole heartedly embracing that challenge.” Chani Dhaliwal – Partner

The events for Black History Month are a culmination of activities undertaken by Irwin Mitchell this year, including Let’s Talk About Race sessions, which are open to all colleagues and aim to kick start conversations about race that many admit they don’t find easy to have.

Irwin Mitchell has made considerable headway in terms of diversity and inclusion in recent years. Aside from their work on race, the firm also have the highest proportion of female lawyers with one of the lowest gender pay gaps in the industry. They’ve also increased the representation of women at senior levels, addressed mental health and feature in Stonewall’s top 100 LGBT+ employers.

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