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We're not perfect. But we believe in always trying to be better.

To us, respect and inclusion are about recognising that everyone is different and creating a business that values those differences.

We are committed to equality of opportunity for all and the promotion of a workplace culture where all our people can succeed.

To drive this commitment forward, we appointed Emma Smith as our dedicated Inclusion & Wellbeing Manager.

Emma works in partnership with all areas of the business to make sure we’re constantly improving our practices and embedding our core values of respect and inclusion in everything we do.

We are proud that ‘inclusivity’ was the top rated factor in our 2021 internal engagement survey, but its important to us that we don’t stop there and that we continue to make Burness Paull a welcoming and inclusive place for all.

To allow everyone’s voice to be heard, we formed a strategy group, BeIncluded, to find out what matters to our colleagues and how we can provide support on issues which might affect them at and/or outside of work.

Headed by Sarah Phillips, the group works closely with our employee networks and representatives from across the firm to ensure that respect and inclusion are constantly on our agenda.

"I believe the firm has a culture that celebrates individuality and openness, where genuine advice and relationships are championed, an environment in which everyone is able to do their best work."
- Tamar Tammes

The work of our BeProud network in bringing together LGBT+ colleagues and allies to help shape a more inclusive environment for all, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, is fundamental to our commitment to make sure everyone can be their true selves at work, and be valued for it.

Our policies and practices are designed to be inclusive of all family situations and gender identities. As a Glass Network ally firm, we are proud to champion the work they do to support LGBT+ professionals in the Scottish legal community.

In recognition of the efforts of the BeProud network, we were pleased to have won the Best Small Business Category at the 2019 Proud Scotland awards and Most Improved Employer at the Stonewall Scotland 2020 Awards. Immigration partner Jamie Kerr won the Professional Services Award at the Proud Scotland Awards 2021, in recognition of his commitment to outstanding service to LGBT migrants.

We work hard to make sure we recruit the best teams from the widest pool of talent. We know there are challenges and barriers facing some candidates and we want to make sure bright, ambitious individuals get the same chance to shine.

Some of the external organisations we partner with to help us achieve wider inclusivity are:

  • The Robertson Trust - We have partnered with the Robertson Trust to be the first firm to offer a legal ‘Career Pathway’, supporting Robertson Trust scholars with training and guidance through workshops, mentoring and networking opportunities. The Pathway will allow scholars the opportunity to gain access to our summer internship scheme, with a view to securing a traineeship.
  • Rare Recruitment - In 2019 we implemented a contextual recruitment system to allow us to understand graduate candidates’ achievements and experience in context, enabling us to find the best hires from the widest talent pool possible.
  • PRIME - PRIME is a legal sector initiative and our participation in this programme is to provide fairer access to quality work experience for school-age students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. We have delivered this remotely during the pandemic.
  • LawScot Foundation - We are a sponsor of the LawScot Foundation, aimed at widening access to the profession for academically talented students from less socially advantaged backgrounds.
  • Race Fairness Commitment - In October 2020 we signed up to Rare’s Race Fairness Commitment to implement data-driven measures to help identify potential barriers that hold back people of colour in the legal sector.

As part of our commitment to widening access to the legal profession, we are involved in a number of initiatives to widen access to the profession and ensure a supportive workplace culture for those from minority ethnic groups.

In October 2020 we signed up to Rare’s Race Fairness Commitment to implement data-driven measures to help identify potential barriers that hold back people of colour in the legal sector.

Part of our commitment to being a responsible and inclusive employer is closing the gender pay gap and promoting gender equality throughout the firm.

When it comes to gender equality, being a member of the 30% Club and hitting our 30% female partnership target last year was a step in the right direction but there’s more to be done. We’re building a culture that encourages women to reach their full potential through supportive family policies and the promotion of shared parental leave and flexible working. We’ve rolled out training, resources and a policy framework to ensure those impacted by menopause feel supported at work and our employee networks encourage open discussion on difficult topics such as baby loss, fertility and caring responsibilities.

Gender pay gap reports

Gender pay gap report 2020

Gender pay gap report 2019

Gender pay gap report 2018

Gender pay gap report 2017

We are the first law firm in the UK and first organisation in Scotland to have been awarded independent 'Menopause Friendly Accreditation’ and we have a policy framework and a range of training, support and resources in place, including trained Menopause Champions, to ensure ongoing support to colleagues impacted by the menopause.

We are winners of the ENEI ‘Enhancing Wellbeing and Belonging at Work’ award 2021 and have been shortlisted as finalists for UK Diversity Legal Awards ‘Diversity & Inclusion Initiative of the Year’ for our work in this area.

“Burness Paull’s campaign has broken new ground in best practice, brought to life with inspiration and passion. It’s a fully inclusive campaign, rightly involving everyone - menopause isn’t an issue for women, its knowledge and understanding is a lifeskill. In addition, they’ve shared their experience with other employers which will help drive societal mindset change around the menopause. We’re truly grateful for all they’ve done - outstanding.'' Deborah Garlick, Director, Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace

It’s important to us to create a healthy, safe and positive working environment, offering colleagues the support and resources they need to maintain their mental, physical and financial wellbeing.

We were awarded See Me in Work partnership status in recognition of the work we have done to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination and embed a mentally healthy culture.

We have over 40 trained Mental Health First Aiders across the firm, offering support to colleagues experiencing mental health issues or those who need someone to listen. They are able to provide initial support and signpost appropriate professional support where needed.

We also hold regular workshops on topics around mental wellbeing and everyone in the firm has 24hr access to support and resources if they need assistance.

We are proud to have been the first Scottish law firm to have signed up to the Mindful Business Charter and we are driving forward changes to remove avoidable sources of stress in the workplace.  We have a MBC Champions in each division/department who drive forward these principles in practice.

We are signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant and we have been awarded the Bronze Employer status – this is given to employers who commit to being an armed forces friendly organisation for employees and their families and demonstrate this through inclusive recruitment and employment policies.

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