IBA introduces Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit to assist law firms in their D&I endeavours

Monday 20 November 2023

The International Bar Association (IBA) has launched its Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Toolkit – a set of free, comprehensive guidelines designed to help law firms embed the core principles of diversity and inclusion into their organisations. Originating as an initiative led by the IBA European Regional Forum Diversity & Inclusion Working Group, the project has expanded to ensure global relevance across jurisdictions, involving representatives from all IBA regional fora. It is endorsed by the IBA Diversity & Inclusion Council.

The D&I Toolkit is a practical tool for all law firms, no matter the size and location. It can serve as a guide to those who are yet to start their journey in creating D&I strategies within their organisation; for improving and completing already existing practices; or for reviewing existing internal policies to determine whether all necessary aspects are covered sufficiently.

In this era of globalisation, it is widely understood that multinational clients are best served by diverse legal teams, representing the markets in which they operate. For law firms, this toolkit represents an opportunity to promote social mobility and drive a change in culture. For individuals and the profession, diversity enriches and broadens perspectives, enhancing innovation and improving global equity.

Masako Banno, Chair of the IBA Diversity and Inclusion Council and a partner at OKUNO & PARTNERS, said, ‘It has been inspiring to see the IBA European Regional Forum take the lead on this important issue, encouraging all law firms to embrace a more diverse and equal workplace environment. The Diversity & Inclusion Council welcomes, and will continue to support, the initiative, and we hope that this resource will assist a wide range of law firms in making diversity and inclusion a core element of their business model.’

The Toolkit is made to be flexible and to lead users through certain procedures where diversity and inclusion can be applied. It also offers helpful templates and a procedure for drafting a strategic D&I action plan. It teaches practitioners how to connect their objectives to the business plan of their company and begin the conversion around D&I.

Furthermore, to assist firms identifying actions and best practice, the toolkit provides a matrix that is designed around the career milestones of employees, such as attraction and recruitment, induction, career progression and the end of the working relationship.

Antonia Verna, Chair, IBA Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, and a partner at Portolano Cavallo, commented, ‘This toolkit was born out of a desire for real change amongst law firms in terms of their response to the question of diversity and inclusion. Having a diverse team of lawyers with experience from a variety of cultural backgrounds enables firms to be receptive to the commercial imperatives of global, transnational clients.’

Pavla Kopecková Prikrylová, Vice Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, and a partner at PETERKA & PARTNERS, added, ‘We are proud to have produced such a comprehensive and user-friendly guide to navigating the world of diversity and inclusion. It provides law firms with step-by-step procedures, strategies for implementation and goals for the future, in the hope of making the profession a better place to work for all.’

The D&I Toolkit, supported by IBA committees and IBA Legal Policy & Research Unit Director, Sara Carnegie, was first presented to legal professionals who attended the ‘Creating and implementing a diversity and inclusion strategy for the law firm’ session held on Tuesday 31 October, during the 2023 IBA Annual Conference in Paris, France.


Notes to the Editor

  1. Click here to download the IBA Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit for free.
  2. Related links:
  3. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, with the aim of protecting and promoting the rule of law globally, the IBA was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice. The IBA acts as a connector, enabler, and influencer, for the administration of justice, fair practice, and accountability worldwide. The IBA has collaborated on a broad range of ground-breaking, international projects with the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, The Commonwealth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others.
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