With International Women’s Day coming up on 8th March, now is a great time to think about the significance of diversity and inclusion in a law firm.
All the evidence from the corporate world tells us that diversity is good for business. And that’s what Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO at Virgin Money, is saying in this great conversation piece with Goldman Sachs. Translated into the legal profession, this means that firms with women in their leadership will outperform firms with all-male leadership, and firms with more racial diversity in their employee ranks will outperform firms with less. Put broadly, law firms with greater diversity will outperform firms with less diversity.
In this context, things like work / life balance and flexible schedules are really important. But contribution, and creating the right conditions to contribute, is so important too. So we need to focus on things like bringing in business and assuming positions of leadership. The risk, If we stress work / life balance over business development, is that we invite people to be pegged as lawyers not interested in business. So let’s work on both.
As the longest serving CEO of a European bank, Virgin Money’s Jayne-Anne Gadhia discusses the inflection points that sparked change in her career, how Sir Richard Branson has served as a source of inspiration and why she has made it a top priority to champion equality and diversity in the finance sector. On gender equality in business: “I hadn’t really thought about diversity and gender equality driving productivity. But that’s sort of the point. We’ve seen in very small scale that organizations that have balanced gender teams drive better return on equity than those that don’t, for example. So, there’s a very sort of hard reason for doing it, which is one of the reasons that the government asked me to do this.”