Highlight: Diversity and inclusion requires continuous work

In the face of the pandemic, D&I remains a key concern in the legal profession

Highlight: Diversity and inclusion requires continuous work

For the past two years, COVID-19 has been the talk of the town. However, it’s not the only important industry trend that the legal profession has been taking note of. The issue of diversity and inclusion (D&I) continues to be a vital one, with many firms and organisations making significant strides in this area.

However, there will always be ways to do better and better.

“Diversity, inclusion and belonging is not something you tick off and say, ‘we’re done’. Our vision is to grow a workplace where everyone can thrive and be themselves. It’s something we all need to be working at continuously because we all deserve respect, acknowledgement and support,” said Jo Stevenson, people and culture director at Simpson Grierson.

The firm, which nabbed the win for Diversity and Inclusion Initiative of the Year at the 2021 NZ Law Awards, has launched a number of D&I initiatives over recent years. Its Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (DIB) Group focuses on representation across age, gender, ethnicity, religious belief and orientation.

Moreover, Simpson Grierson conducted LGBTTQI+ training, and simplified the process of incorporating pronouns into staff members’ email signatures. The firm also established non-binary toilets in its offices.

“We’ve been working hard to make Simpson Grierson a safe place for Rainbow identifiers, so they feel they can bring their whole selves to work. We’re delighted that we’ve had our Rainbow Tick certification renewed once again. We were the first organisation in Aotearoa to receive the Rainbow Tick certification in 2014, and are very proud to be allies of the Rainbow Communities,” Stevenson explained in the recently released NZ Law Awards Commemorative Guide.

She added that the firm plans to take a “more focused approach” to unconscious bias training, allyship and micro-inequities in the workplace.

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