Bristol & Bath Lawyers have new LGB Networking & Support Group
One of the new Principles enshrined in the OFR Solicitors’ Code of Conduct (due into force on 6th October 2011) requires all solicitors to “run your business or carry out your role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity”. Chapter 2 of the Code sets out 5 outcomes that firms need to show that they are achieving this principle; and the Code suggests a number of indicative behaviours which would indicate that firms are achieving these outcomes.
One of these indicative behaviours is to have a written equality and diversity policy. Many firms are already committed to supporting BYlaw, the recently formed Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual networking group which was launched in October 2009. BYlaw provides an inclusive network and support environment for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people who work, or are intending to work, in the South West and South Wales legal sector. It is not exclusively a group for Solicitors, and members include solicitors, trainees, paralegals, HR professionals, trade mark & patent attorneys, and members of the Bar – in fact anyone who works in the legal sector.
Meetings have been held in several firms’ offices – including Burges Salmon, Beachcroft, Clarke Willmott, and Bevan Brittan – as well as in Cardiff, with a range of speakers, including advice on the Stonewall Equality Index. BYlaw sponsored a film evening during the 2011 Bristol Pride week and is also supporting the first Careers event focussed directly on equality and diversity issues which is being held in Bristol on October 14th.
BYlaw’s primary focus is:
- To help promote diversity in the legal workplace and a culture which treats everyone equally
- To give a voice to, and develop connections between, LGB members of our region’s legal community
- To offer a safe environment for LGB people who are not openly gay or bisexual at work to be themselves and to talk with others who may have advice and suggestions to share
- To develop and enhance the progressive reputations of those firms and places of study whose employees / students are part of our group
- To engage with clients and prospective clients of legal services for whom diversity is important
If anybody wishes to register to be a member of BYlaw or attend any of the regular events, just go to www.bylaw.org.uk and leave your details there. With the new focus on equality and diversity, many firms might like to promote the network to their staff and actively support the network.