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Walker Morris invests in D&I with key appointment

Leading law firm, Walker Morris, has appointed Jessica Harvey as its new Diversity and Inclusion Manager, to continue to drive forward the firm’s D&I agenda, help improve representation within its workforce and support more female lawyers into partnership.

Jessica Harvey press release balcony shot

With 10 years working in D&I, Jessica has advised organisations like Heritage England on how to get people from diverse backgrounds involved in heritage, and worked with one of the largest political organisations in Wales around their D&I strategy. Most recently Jessica was D&I manager at a third sector provider within Kirklees where she put distinct processes in place to help change the overall culture of the organisation.

Commenting on Jessica’s appointment, Tracy Foley, Head of HR at Walker Morris, said: “Jessica’s knowledge and expertise within diversity and inclusion in the workplace will be a huge asset to the firm to support us in our ambitions. We have already set up various communities within the firm, such as Diversity Champions, the Racial Equality Group and the Women in Leadership Group, which ensure representation and help us shape new initiatives, but we know the journey doesn’t end here.

“With Jessica’s expertise, we are looking to make further real, tangible changes within Walker Morris and the wider industry. We acknowledge that in order to counteract widespread misconception about the legal sector, clear communication is key. We have made communication one of our key priorities in our Ambition 2024 programme and have partnered with Stronger Together and universities to host mock assessment centres and insight days with students to give them advice on what working within law is really like and how accessible law can be to everyone.”

Jessica added: “While Walker Morris is already making great strides in improving D&I within the firm, the team recognise that there is a lot more that we can do to help break down barriers to entering the legal profession and ensuring that all team members at Walker Morris, have equal and exciting opportunities. Walker Morris recently conducted research which revealed just 16% of young people surveyed had considered pursuing a career in law – hardly surprising when less than half (46%) of students are offered the option to take a law course at GCSE or A-Level. These statistics highlight the importance of engaging with communities to make the field more accessible, so that we can bring talented young people from all backgrounds into law.

“I am really excited to be working closely with the staff D&I networks within Walker Morris, to make real, impactful change and encourage this conversation in the wider industry too.”

As part of the work to improve social mobility and increase diversity within its team, Walker Morris has also implemented RARE, a contextual recruitment system (CMS) which identifies the most disadvantaged candidates and those who have outperformed their schools by the greatest amounts. This platform aims to level the playing field for young people looking to pursue a career in law and by utilising the system in its recruitment process, Walker Morris aims to increase the amount of interviews it carries out and the number of trainee appointments of those from underrepresented backgrounds.

Walker Morris provides highly tailored, long term, strategic advice to clients both in the UK, and internationally. Our diverse collection of lawyers and professionals carry an entrepreneurial spirit and work incredibly hard to elevate clients to greater success.