Seminar to show how law firms can meet equality code of conduct

A breakfast seminar on equality and diversity training in the legal profession, showing how law firms and legal departments can satisfy the requirements of Rule 6 of the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct, will be held in London on 8 May 2008.

Called Acting on Rule 6, the seminar will be presented by drama-based learning specialist Steps, the market leader in interactive diversity training.

In addition, David Whincup, Head of the London Employment Practice at commercial law firm Hammonds, will talk about the business case for equality and diversity and how it can enhance the recruitment and retention of staff and strengthen client relations.

Introduced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 2007, Rule 6 is designed to prevent discrimination and to promote equality and diversity.

It requires that legal firms and practices not only have an equality and diversity policy but also that all staff should be aware of, and act in compliance with, the requirements and provisions of that policy.

“The challenge is to bring the diversity policy to life but equality and diversity training can be seen as bone dry,” said Richard Wilkes, a Director of Steps, who will co-lead the seminar. “Interactive, drama-based training, involving live theatre techniques and facilitated learning, has proved a popular way of embedding diversity. It engages people intellectually and emotionally. Delegates see real life situations played out in front of them and they get involved in finding a way out of a difficult situation.”

At the seminar, Steps will present scenarios, drawn from research, showing the challenges that legal professionals are working with, and against, regarding equality and diversity.

The thought-provoking scenarios are designed to encourage individuals attending the seminar to question the working practices and relationships in their own firms.

“This seminar will give delegates the chance to experience, first hand, how drama-based learning can help partners, associates, trainees and support staff to understand what Rule 6 means to them in everyday situations and interactions,” said Richard Wilkes.

 “Some very sound commercial benefits lie behind having a robust diversity policy, as well as the more obvious compliance reasons, and this is well recognised. Our work with law firms tells us that the ability to create a lasting impact in a very short space of time works extremely well.”

Founded in 1992, Steps has considerable experience in providing diversity training that is both innovative and practical.

The company has developed an in-depth understanding of the people issues in organisations, having created memorable learning initiatives for law practices large and small as well as clients from a range of other sectors.


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