Norton Rose Fulbright

Company: Norton Rose Fulbright
Innovation Title: Diversity Councils: The Minority Equity Council and the WiN Council
Company Website:
Year Introduced: 2022-2023

Executive Summary

What makes this program or initiative unique?

Norton Rose Fulbright prioritizes a culture that values authenticity, collaboration, client service and an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. After the success of the Racial Equity Council (REC), which was tasked with improving the experience of Black personnel, leaders used it as a model to continue transforming our existing affinity groups focused on racially and ethnically diverse personnel and women to create the Minority Equity Council (MEC), serving all of our racially and ethnically diverse personnel, and launch the Women in Norton Rose Fulbright Council (the WiN Council).

What was the purpose or goal?

The MEC serves all of our racially and ethnically diverse personnel with a mission to improve the experience of diverse personnel and advance racial equity throughout the firm.

The WiN Council is intended to elevate the work of the Women in Norton Rose Fulbright Network (WiN). WiN is composed of women in US firm offices, dedicated to building and maintaining an accessible, dynamic and inspirational Women’s Network. The WiN Council aims to take this network to the next level by advancing growth and development opportunities for all women at the firm.

What are the benefits and positive changes of this program or initiative?

Together with the REC and the firm’s diversity networks, the MEC plays a key role in identifying improvements we can make in recruiting, retaining and promoting diverse lawyers and business services professionals at the firm.

The WiN Council works closely with firm management to select and implement long term strategic initiatives designed to move the needle in the areas of lawyer recruitment, retention and promotion. It will also examine the evolving roles of business services professionals in today’s work environment and explore new pathways for their success and advancement.

What are the indicators or metrics that demonstrate the innovation is effective?

We are seeing the needle move through combined efforts of our councils and diversity networks. In 2022, female representation on the firm’s Management Committee increased to 44%, more than double the industry average, while racial and ethnic diversity rose to 33%, more than quadruple the national average. During the past three summer associate classes, 17.8% of participants have been Black, more than three times the percentage of Black lawyers in the US. So far in 2023, Black staff compose 15% of the firm’s new business services professionals and 17% of those who have been promoted.

How is it driving growth and if so, in what areas?

It is imperative that we recruit, retain and advance diverse professionals. To contribute to growth and a positive workplace culture, we launched the Business Services Mentorship program in May, pairing mentees with mentors to develop the next generation of leaders. The year-long program helps boost skills, confidence and career goals of mentees by using the vast and invaluable resources of the firm, providing reflection and meaningful connections for all involved.

Who does it impact?

While the road to equity will be long and arduous, we are primed to affect real and lasting change for our diverse and female personnel with the full support of firm leadership. The firm has committed resources to in-house programming to combat bias, including a speaker series to educate all firm personnel on topics related to equity and implicit bias training for all hiring managers.