Diversity, equity & inclusion

‘People feel supported and know where to turn if ever they need to’

The Chambers Student Guide
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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1926 - 2022

Inclusion is integral to life at Penningtons Manches Cooper. We focus on creating an inspirational culture that enables everyone to reach their career potential by being their true selves. By recruiting and retaining the most talented and motivated people, regardless of identity, background or circumstances, we can deliver the best possible real world outcomes for our clients. We are wholly committed to fostering an environment where our people are valued, motivated and feel empowered to make the most of their working and personal lives.


Our diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) programme, Pennclusion, consists of six committees: age, disability and mental health (including neurodiversity), gender, LGBTQIA+, race and faith, and social mobility. These committees are pivotal to our wider effort to build and maintain an inclusive culture throughout the firm, and promote an environment in which everyone can succeed. They each play important roles in the key initiatives across our DE&I spectrum, including raising awareness, educating our people, benchmarking and creating safe spaces for all identities. Interested to find our more? Contact one of our DE&I ambassadors.

EMpower programme

As part of our wider commitment to increasing the representation of Black and ethnic minority individuals in the legal sector, in spring 2022, we launched our 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 provides 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. We hosted our 2023 programme in April, but please check back later in the year for details on how to apply for our 2024 programme.

Race Fairness Commitment

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.

Women in Law Pledge

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.

Mental health

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.

Work experience

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. 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.

Diversity statistics

By observing our diversity statistics we can track our development and establish where we are having an impact.

Link arrow Diversity statistics report 2023

Link arrow Gender pay gap report 2023

Link arrow Gender pay gap report 2022

Link arrow Gender pay gap report 2021

Link arrow Gender pay gap report 2020

Link arrow Gender pay gap report 2019

Link arrow Gender pay gap report 2018

Gender pay gap report 2017

To view our equal opportunities and diversity policy, please click here.

Business Disability Forum
Work Life Central
MyPlus Recruiters Club Partner
MyPlus Student Club Partner
Rare contextual recruitment
Rare | Diversity Recruitment Excellence
Race Fairness Commitment
Black Solicitors Network
The Mental health at work Commitment
Happy to talk flexible working
Stonewall Diversity Champion
Living Wage Employer
Oxford Inclusive Economy partnership
See her thrive proud partner
UK model diversity survey

Key facts and figures

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an icon that looks like a pie chart. two thirds of the pie chart is filled with a female figure icon and one third is filled with with the number 67%.  Text underneath explains 67% of our population are women
A female symbol icon with text that says 36% of our partners are women
three people icons surrounding a figure of 12% with text underneath that says of our population is ethnic minority
an icon of a shield. Inside the shield is an icon of two hands shaking. The hands are pointing down to form a heart shape. Above this is written 12% primary carers
A square box with an icon of a rosette positioned in the middle of the bottom edge. Inside the box is written 53% of our population is state school educated

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP