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Shepherd and Wedderburn appoints Head of Diversity, Development and Inclusion

Shepherd and Wedderburn, the leading independent, Scottish-headquartered UK law firm, has appointed a Head of Diversity, Development and Inclusion.

Yvonne Brady, a senior partner, is responsible for all of Shepherd and Wedderburn’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, and maximising their impact for the benefit of colleagues and clients. This includes overseeing the firm’s S+W Together focus groups: Gender; Race, Faith and Beliefs; LGBTIA; Healthy Working Lives; and Social Mobility.

Yvonne, who will continue to lead the firm’s restructuring and business advisory practice, is one of Scotland’s most respected restructuring and insolvency lawyers, with over 30 years’ experience. This year she achieved her sixth consecutive Star Individual ranking in the most recent edition of the Chambers and Partners independent legal directory. In addition, Yvonne sits on the CBI’s Scotland Council, is a founding director and Vice Chair of Business Beats Cancer in Glasgow, and is on the Board of Trustees of Leuchie House, a specialist respite care provider in East Lothian.

In the past year, Shepherd and Wedderburn has:

· achieved Living Wage Scotland accreditation;

· become the only Scottish-headquartered law firm to be ranked by Stonewall and the InterLaw Diversity Forum in their inaugural list of the UK’s top 25 legal employers for LGBTIA staff;

· been awarded ‘Gold’ accreditations from Investors in Young People, Investors in People and for its Healthy Working Lives programme;

· expanded its PRIME programme, which offers high quality work experience to young people from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds with the twin aim of encouraging social mobility and diversity in the legal profession;

· conducted a major values exercise, involving more than 200 colleagues across the business, and an independent diversity and inclusion survey of colleagues;

· implemented an agile and flexible working programme;

· expanded its in-house mentoring scheme – the firm now has 30 trained mentors;

· introduced a reverse mentoring programme to allow colleagues from its S+W Together focus groups to mentor members of its executive team; and

· retained its Disability Confident Employer badge in recognition of its work with disabled current and prospective employees. The firm guarantees an interview to any disabled applicant who meets the minimum criteria for any vacancy.

Commenting on her appointment, Yvonne said: “We are working hard to achieve a fully diverse and inclusive business and my appointment affirms our commitment to that goal. I am excited about our future and the many initiatives already underway to ensure our business provides the best working environment, so that colleagues and clients alike have the most positive experience possible of working with us.”

Andrew Blain, managing partner of Shepherd and Wedderburn, said: “We are committed to treating all colleagues equally and to fostering an inclusive and meritocratic culture because our clients, colleagues and business are best served by a diverse and representative workforce, and the variety of experiences, ideas and perspectives this brings. I am confident that Yvonne will bring energy and enthusiasm to driving forward the many initiatives that underpin this pledge.

“We recognise that we, like most other businesses, have a long way to go but that recognition is the essential first step on the journey. We will be building on the modest improvement we have made in narrowing the gender pay gap and striving to ensure all colleagues in the business feel equally valued, see a clear path to career progression and enjoy being part of Shepherd and Wedderburn, working together with a common sense of purpose.”

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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