Linklaters unveils global diversity and inclusion billable credit scheme

Up to 100 hours of DE&I work to be recognised under policy pioneered in the US

Lawyers across Linklaters' international network of offices are set to receive a financial reward for their diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I) efforts under a new policy that comes into force next month.

The UK Magic Circle firm said the move followed the successful introduction of the policy in the US, under which ‘billable credit and recognition’ is given to employees who conduct a range of activities to promote DE&I.

DEI contributions will be taken into account for performance bonus purposes and, dependent on office location, up to 100 hours of contributions will be considered as chargeable time or taken into account as part of overall performance bonus assessments.

According to the Diversity Lab, nearly 150 law firms in the US have introduced DE&I billable credits after a commitment to provide 50 hours of credits was included in its 2021 Do Something Hard challenge. 

However, only a handful of firms are believed to have applied credits across their international networks. They include Hogan Lovells, which announced last year that it was extending its scheme to assign 50 hours of credits across its network.

Leila Hock, chief growth officer at the Diversity Lab, said: “Our data shows that DEI work often falls on the shoulders of women and other underrepresented lawyers. That's why we encouraged law firms through the Inclusion Blueprint Do Something Hard Challenge to put their money where their mouth is and provide billable credit for these valuable contributions. Nearly 150 firms are now taking this important step to equalise credit for this work and incentivise all lawyers to share the responsibility.” 

Linklaters said the policy aimed to recognise the importance of individuals’ contributions to DE&I efforts within the firm and its surrounding communities. 

The Global Legal Post understands that a range of activities will be considered relevant, among them mentoring, allying and sponsorship as well as active engagement in external diversity networks and affinity groups. 

Linklaters senior partner and chair, Aedamar Comiskey, commented: “Being a diverse, equitable and inclusive firm is integral to our strategy and remains at the heart of our culture and values,” said Linklaters senior partner and chair, Aedamar Comiskey. “This policy recognises the efforts of individuals across our Linklaters network who help to cultivate our inclusive culture and, in doing so, help to attract the best people and the best clients.”

Paul Lewis, Linklaters’ firmwide managing partner, added: “We have already seen the success of our policy in the US and are pleased to be able to introduce it at a firmwide level – rewarding and recognising those dedicating time and energy to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion and encouraging further meaningful engagement with our global DEI commitments.”

Late last month the Law Society of England and Wales published a diversity and inclusion framework to help the legal industry create faster and lasting change that suggested including DEI work in appraisals. 

The nominees for the forthcoming Women and Diversity in Law Awards will be announced this Thursday (13 October). Click here for more details


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