‘The more diverse you are the more creative and innovative you are’ – Best Employer 2017: Osborne Clarke

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Osborne Clarke UK managing partner Ray Berg talks to Legal Week Intelligence.

What is your firm doing to boost diversity and inclusion? “As a firm we recognise and celebrate being different. It’s not a tickbox exercise for us, it’s about ingraining diversity into our culture and making sure that everyone feels they belong. We want to ensure everyone can thrive in our firm and reach their true potential. We want people to feel that they are supported and to understand that being different is something to be celebrated. For me it’s the right thing to do for strong moral reasons but it’s also for good business reasons. The more diverse you are the more creative and innovative you are, and that’s increasingly what our clients and our people expect.”

How do you make staff feel valued? “We do a range of things to make employees feel valued. We have a profit share that’s paid out to everyone in the firm regardless of their role, so the more profitable we are the better everyone does. As well as bonus systems, our diversity and wellbeing activity shows we actually care about our people. We are a people business and we’ve got to really value our people and also listen to them. We recognise we might get some things wrong, but we hope and expect our people are comfortable enough to say: these things aren’t working, so let’s do it differently.”

How do you ensure equality and openness around career opportunities? “We’ve got a very clearly defined career framework – so we have associates, senior associates, associate directors and partners or legal directors. We are very clear in the contribution framework about what’s expected to get to those levels. It’s like a deal – here is what we expect from you, and in return you can expect career progression. It can’t be a dark art as to how you get made up as a partner, it’s got to be a fair process and people have got to understand what’s expected of them. I think law firms have generally woken up to that.”

Top 3 BER scores – Osborne Clarke

  • The level of client interaction I have
  • The quality of clients at my firm
  • The quality of work handled by my firm

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