‘People feel supported and know where to turn if ever they need to’
At Penningtons Manches Cooper, we acknowledge that people differ – in ways that are visible such as age, gender, ethnicity and physical appearance, as well as those that are not obvious, for example education, social background, religion, sexual orientation, personal experiences and perspectives. We believe that a diverse workforce generates vitality for our firm.
We ensure that there are equal opportunities in all stages of the recruitment process and employment. All job applicants and employees receive equal treatment regardless of age, sex, marital status, race, religion, colour, ethnic or national origins, sexual orientation or disability. We actively want to attract a vibrant and varied workforce.
We have a diversity and inclusion working group leading and implementing initiatives and addressing issues such as the provision of quality work experience to young individuals from less privileged backgrounds in the UK. It is still early days in terms of assessing the impact of such initiatives but we will continue to support them and find ways to track the progress of our firm in achieving greater diversity at all levels.
As part of our wider commitment to increasing the representation of Black and ethnic minority individuals in the legal sector, in Spring 2022, we will be launching our brand new programme, EMpower. EMpower is open to all first year law students and penultimate year non-law students from a Black heritage or ethnic minority background. The programme will provide a unique opportunity for students to gain invaluable application advice, meet our lawyers, work shadow, build key networking skills and better understand the culture at Penningtons Manches Cooper. There is a simple application process which focuses on motivations to participate in the programme, but no formal interview process. Applications for the Empower programme are now open until 13 February - apply here.
The firm has joined the Race Fairness Commitment, a series of pioneering measures aimed at tackling inequality in the recruitment, progression and retention of talent from ethnic minorities in the UK. Launched by diversity graduate recruitment specialist Rare, it encourages the use of data-driven and contextual techniques to identify areas for improvement.
Under the commitment, we pledge to publish annual, aggregated data comparing outcomes for white and minority ethnic colleagues and candidates in six areas - interview, selection, retention, pay, promotion and belonging. By doing so we will hold ourselves to account publicly to address barriers to inclusion. The pledge reinforces the work we have already begun with Rare to enhance our recruitment processes. It is also accompanied by another new initiative we have implemented to create a positive impact – our decision to adopt the Halo Code.
As part of our continued commitment to gender equality in the legal profession, we have signed the Law Society’s Women in Law Pledge. The pledge, launched in partnership with the Bar Council of England and Wales and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), was created to bring gender equality to the forefront of the conversation.
Penningtons Manches Cooper pledges to promote gender equality by; focusing on senior leadership accountability and specific targets for gender diversity and inclusion, continuing to drive and refine our gender action plan, removing any sex discrimination, bias or bullying to create a culture we’re proud of and ensuring pay, reward and recognition are tied in to our gender equality targets at senior leadership level.
The Women in Law pledge builds on the work we have been doing to create a more equal legal profession for all, and supports our gender pay gap action plan.
We have taken an increasingly strategic approach to tackling mental health problems within the firm in recent years. This has paid dividends in the step change we have seen in attitudes towards mental health at all levels of our business and has helped shape our response during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since 2018, we have recruited and trained over 30 mental health first aiders and mental health champions internally. By rolling out carefully tailored training and accompanying toolkits, we have been able to help line managers deal with mental illness within their teams empathetically and constructively. We have also run a variety of stress, resilience, and other awareness sessions to improve understanding of the issues so many of us are facing.
Time to Change is a national campaign that was set up to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. By signing its Employer Pledge, we have underlined the importance of creating a working environment in which people are comfortable enough to be open about their feelings.
We are signatories of the PRIME commitment, which encourages meaningful work experience opportunities for students from low income backgrounds in law firms across the UK and Republic of Ireland.
To ensure we maintain a fresh approach, our programme is reviewed each year. We are currently working with Speakers for Schools to run online work experience and insight events over the summer. Students interested in obtaining work experience at the firm can find out more on our trainee lawyer pages which include full details on how to apply.
By observing our diversity statistics, we can track our development and establish where we are having an impact.
Some of our metrics include:
|Gender profile||Age profile||Ethnic origin profile|
Under 35: 48%
Under 35: 2%
Minority ethnic: 12%
(All figures as at March 2022)
To view our equal opportunities and diversity policy, please click here.