Linklaters sets up reverse mentoring scheme for its top lawyers

Linklaters is piloting a reverse mentoring scheme with its 13-strong partnership board as the firm ramps up its efforts in diversity and inclusion.

Today, the firm opened applications for the pilot scheme, which will see some of Linklaters’ most senior partners mentored by junior lawyers or business services professionals from across the network.

Members of the partnership board include senior partner Charlie Jacobs, managing partner Gideon Moore and dispute resolution partner Christa Band.

The reverse mentoring scheme is particularly focused on applicants from under-represented groups such as ethnic minorities, LGBT and people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Global diversity and inclusion partner Fiona Hobbs said: “We place great importance on developing a better and mutual understanding of differences in cultures, values, motivations and skills of our people and so we’re excited by this initiative.

“We know that if you want to learn something, you need to explore new ideas and new ways of working. Reverse mentoring is just one way we can do that.”

The idea was put to the firm’s executive committee as an alternative to traditional mentorship schemes. The magic circle firm already runs a number of different mentoring schemes, with formal meetings as part of the Women’s Leadership Programme and 30 per cent Club.

Linklaters’ diversity and inclusion team will review all applications for the roles, assigning one mentor per partner. The pair will then set up a monthly meeting or call to discuss their experiences with each other.

It is understood that the firm wants to create more cross-office relationships with the pilot, as well as increase lawyers’ understanding of different backgrounds. Some members of the partnership board have already expressed an interest to know more about a particular background or certain office.

Linklaters head of talent and engagement Kate Richardson-Moore said the partnership board would be leading on the pilot to show the firm’s commitment to the diversity and inclusion agenda. However, the scheme could be rolled out to other areas of the firm if it is successful.

Applications for the mentor role are open until 9 February, with the pilot running for seven months.

The pilot comes after Linklaters’ exceeded its target of 30 per cent for female representation on its executive committee, hitting a high of 42 per cent.

The firm, however, has not quite hit its target in the partnership board with the figure lingering at 23 per cent.