What is your role at DWF?
I’m currently working in DWF’s commercial litigation team as a solicitor. We deal with a wide range of disputes - from breaches of commercial agreements to contentious trusts and probate work - which provides a varied, challenging role working with a stellar portfolio of clients.
How did top 50 come about?
The top 50 LGBT executive list is compiled by the Telegraph and Out at Work, and decided by a prestigious panel of judges, including Mary Portas, Lord Cashman of Limehouse and Curt Hess, chief financial officer at Barclays. The judges praised the OutFront (DWF’s LGBT staff network) initiative and the achievements we have delivered to date.
What has the reaction been like amongst colleagues and contacts?
Overall the reaction has been overwhelming. Internally, the firm publicised the award across the whole business, so I had a full inbox of congratulatory emails from a range of colleagues, including one from Andrew Leaitherland our managing partner. In addition, many clients and contacts sent kind messages, which have led to further opportunities to collaborate on mutual diversity initiatives.
What else does DWF do for D&I?
We are a values led business, and as I said before, we are committed to creating an inclusive workplace that respects and embraces diversity. The firm has formed a diversity steering committee which is made up of partners who represent the individual diversity strands, and is chaired by equity partner Seema Bains. The committee spearhead new initiatives, such as OutFront, to ensure we attract, develop and retain the best people, whilst improving our ability to compete in a competitive market.
What progress do you feel is being made by organisations in relation to diversity?
Overall, most sectors are improving. However, there are still certain careers, such as the judiciary, that still aren’t reflective. This highlights there is still work to be done.
I hear that many candidates are hesitant to disclose their sexuality as they don’t want to be judged on that basis alone and I have much sympathy with that view point. However, organisations need visible champions, so we get to a point whereby sexuality isn’t something to be ‘judged’ on.
What advice would you give to candidates when applying for jobs?
Be yourself and be positive. People who have a minority characteristic can sometimes become overly pessimistic and presume their differences are going to be an issue. Businesses are looking for talent, so try not to look for problems that aren’t there, relax and showcase your expertise.
If you want to hear more about the work Paul does at DWF, please contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org