Awards Ceremony
28th November 2019

Award Categories

Nominations are now closed and will reopen for 2020 in the Spring next year

The UK Diversity Legal Awards are open to organisations of all sizes, and submissions are welcomed from firms, chambers, in-house legal teams (private and public sector), and suppliers to the legal profession as well as individuals within the legal profession. Submissions that cover one, some, or all aspects of diversity (including gender, ethnicity, social mobility, disability and sexual orientation) are invited.

Recruiting Diverse Talent

This award recognises an organisation that has demonstrated an innovative approach to attracting and hiring talent from diverse backgrounds. Submissions should outline how gaps or issues were identified as well as how solutions were decided and implemented. Evidence should be provided of significant and, where possible, measureable impact. Additionally, submissions should articulate how the organisation’s approach to recruiting diverse talent fits into the bigger picture of recruiting talent more broadly.

A strong submission might demonstrate a whole-business approach. Ideally the impact will affect more than one diversity strand, although this is not essential. Judges will also be looking for evidence of policies, procedures, or systems that have been established to facilitate on-going improvements.

NOMINATE

Managing Diverse Talent

This award recognises an organisation that has demonstrated an innovative approach to the identification, support, development, progression, and retention of diverse talent. Submissions should outline how gaps or issues were identified as well as how solutions were decided and implemented. Evidence should be provided of significant and, where possible, measureable impact. Particular attention will be given to data from the past three years. Additionally, submissions should articulate how the organisation’s approach to managing diverse talent fits into the bigger picture of managing talent more broadly.

A strong submission might demonstrate a whole-business approach. Ideally the impact will affect more than one diversity strand, although this is not essential. Judges will also be looking for evidence of policies, procedures, or systems that have been established to facilitate on-going improvements.

NOMINATE

Diversity & Inclusion Initiative of the Year

This award recognises an initiative that has made a tangible difference in creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace, with the intention of highlighting best practice for the legal profession. In addition to outlining the rationale behind the approach taken, submissions should provide evidence of clear objectives and measurable outcomes (in the form of relevant statistical data). A special effort will be made to contextualise an initiative’s success in relation to type of organisation. Judges will consider recognising initiatives for each of the following categories if they determine that the submissions are strong enough to warrant this:

  • Law firms – Sponsored by The Solicitors Regulation Authority
  • Chambers
  • In house (Private Sector) – sponsored by Linklaters LLP
  • In house (Public Sectors)

A strong submission might demonstrate a whole-business approach. Ideally the impact will affect more than one diversity strand, although this is not essential. Judges will also be looking for evidence of policies, procedures, or systems that have been established to facilitate on-going improvements.

NOMINATE

BSN Sole Practitioner / Small Law Firm of the Year*


The market for legal services in the UK has grown markedly in recent years and at one point was said to be worth in excess of £20bn. At the same time, the Legal Aid budget has fallen by 37% in real terms over the past 8 years and by some estimates only 20% of the UK population has access to the remaining funds. The reasons are many and endemic, but the unavoidable truth is that increasingly access to the law is limited. The impact of reduced funding and historical decision making is felt most keenly by minorities, non-traditional families, and other socially excluded or disadvantaged people. Traditional high-street firms face a range of pressures, from cuts in the scope of legal aid to government reforms to civil justice, aimed at curbing the ‘compensation culture’

It is at this frontline that small law firms (in particular, high street firms) and sole practitioners are developing radical and innovative new ways to deliver legal services which take up the challenge of adapting to constant change and building a new trust amongst communities where there are yawning gaps. From firms that deliver pro bono work in deprived areas through to developing the early years pipeline of talent through engagement with local schools and being part of building a community that engenders greater equality and access to justice.

A strong submission will demonstrate progress and improvement of your firm in a way that sets you apart from other small firms/sole practitioners in the context of diversity and inclusion, together with details of your exceptional impact within the firm and externally.

*Open to firms with 1-4 partners. ‘Partners’ covers equity and non-equity to anyone classed as a partner within the firm. Your firm must be regulated by the SRA.

NOMINATE

Diversity Champion

This award recognises an individual who has made a significant contribution to diversity within and across the legal profession over the past three years. The intention is to highlight both the leadership demonstrated and the best practice they have exemplified (through the impact of their work). This category is open to any person within a firm, chambers, in-house team or supplier to the industry. Nominations in the form of a biography will be considered as acceptable, as too will a case study outlining significant achievements.

Please provide a written reference that illustrates the progress or success of this project or initiative.

NOMINATE

Outstanding Multi-cultural/BAME Employee Network

This award recognises the outstanding contribution of a multi-cultural / BAME employee network in the legal profession to creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Submissions should include context on the purpose and objectives of the network, measures it has taken to contribute to a more diverse and inclusive workplace, and evidence of its impact. A strong submission might demonstrate how the network has gained buy-in from key stakeholders, collaborated with other strands, and aligned the needs of its members with value to the business.

NOMINATE

ACCESS TO JUSTICE

It is becoming increasingly difficult for ordinary people to obtain access to justice following cutbacks to legal aid, closure of courts and legal advice centres, increased high court and tribunal fees and other reforms. The result is an escalating crisis over access to justice in the UK.

The award recognises an ambitious initiative or project that has effectively and demonstrably provided (and/or improved) access to justice for disadvantaged, marginalised and/or vulnerable members in society in the UK. Submissions should outline how issues were identified and solutions were developed and implemented – explain the project, its significance, set out its goals and provide solid evidence that these goals have been achieved, or are being achieved and, where possible, with measurable impact. Please provide a written reference that illustrates the progress or success of this project or initiative.

Please provide a written reference that illustrates the progress or success of this project or initiative.

NOMINATE

Mental Health & Wellbeing

This award recognises those organisations that demonstrate improved staff wellbeing, retention and performance and/or the embedding of mental health and wellbeing into organisational values and culture. Nominations are welcomed from organisations in the legal sector that are taking measures to improve and maintain the mental health and wellbeing of their staff in a sustainable and measurable way.

The successful initiative could focus on physical, social or psychological mental health aspects, or a combination of all three.

Submissions should include evidence of:

  • mental health and wellbeing being part of the organisational culture;
  • operational performance improvement linked to staff wellbeing and inclusivity; and
  • a commitment to ongoing mental health and wellbeing across all levels of the business.

NOMINATE

BSN Rising Star

The award recognises an exceptional BSN lawyer at the beginning of his/her career who stands out both in terms of strong legal, business, and client skills as well as leadership qualities and potential. Individuals must be trainee solicitors or solicitors, barristers or in-house counsel in the early years of their practice. In addition to their behaviour within their firm, chambers or organisation, individuals must also provide evidence of leadership in the community. This may include pro bono work, community projects and/or self-started initiatives. Written references supporting submissions for this category will be required.

Categories included in the 2019 BSN Rising Star Awards are as follows:

• Private Practice
• Chambers
• In-house
• Entrepreneurship

Please provide a written reference that illustrates the progress or success of this project or initiative.
NOMINATE

BSN Lawyer of the Year

This award recognises an established BSN lawyer (solicitor, barrister, or in-house counsel) who stands out for their business impact, demonstrated leadership, and the contribution they have made towards BAME diversity. Judges will be looking for evidence that they have demonstrated unflagging commitment to supporting the professional advancement of BAME lawyers and/or those seeking to enter the profession as well as championed the cause of diversity across and/or beyond the legal profession in each of the following categories.

  • Private Practice
  • Chambers
  • In-house

Please provide a written reference that illustrates the progress or success of this project or initiative.

NOMINATE

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