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Burness Paull ensures diversity and employee wellbeing is centre stage

Leading independent law firm Burness Paull has underlined its commitment to diversity and the health of its staff by appointing a dedicated Inclusion & Wellbeing Manager.

In what is believed to be a first for a corporate law firm in Scotland, Emma Smith has taken up a new post dedicated to overseeing the firm’s respect and inclusion agenda on a full-time basis.

The role will work in partnership with departments across the firm to embed the principles of respect, inclusion and wellbeing in its internal and external relationships and processes.

Emma will also liaise with the firm’s existing BeIncluded strategy group to provide in-depth, specialist advice around Respect & Inclusion (R&I) and wellbeing within Burness Paull and help to design, implement and embed new approaches to strengthen the firm’s status as an employer of choice for high-performing talent.

“Over the past two years the inclusion and wellbeing agenda has grown exponentially in tandem with the increasing emphasis on Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance for responsible employers, and we anticipate this trend will continue,” explains Peter Lawson, Chair at Burness Paull.

“This role will enable us to take an even more focused approach to R&I across the firm, and investing in dedicated resource is a visible demonstration of our strong commitment to inclusion and wellbeing and ESG both internally and externally.”

Burness Paull has a well-established track record in regard to respect and inclusion, with recent highlights including:

  • being the first independent Scottish law firm to sign up to the Mindful Business Charter;
  • achieving See Me in Work partnership status as a result of the firm’s work around mental health in the workplace;
  • winner of Best Small Business Category at the 2019 Proud Scotland awards;
  • the firm was Scotland’s highest climber in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 2020;
  • securing a funding award from the Scottish Government for a ‘Menopause at Work’ project;
  • a commitment to provide PRIME work experience in every office; and
  • invested in a contextualised recruitment system and introduced blind interviews for all graduate-level hires.

Emma’s mandate will be to ensure existing practices within the firm are fit for purpose, improve the firm’s outreach work and to seek new ways of working with external partners like SEMLA (Scottish Ethnic Minority Lawyers Association), Stonewall, ENABLE, ENEI, Rare Recruitment and the Social Mobility Index to ensure the firm’s policies and processes are as transparent and inclusive as possible.

“Fostering a truly inclusive workplace culture is vital in order to attract and retain the best possible talent,” says Emma.

“At Burness Paull, inclusion and wellbeing are fundamental to the way we operate. We’re working hard to create a culture that celebrates difference and promotes equality of opportunity.

“We’re proud of the progress we have made over the past few years, and my job is to ensure that we continue to drive this agenda forward and embed our core values of respect and inclusion in everything we do.” 

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