Black representation: our commitment to change

We’re committed to stopping all forms of racism and the infrastructure that upholds it, and know that the Black community need our immediate support.

In June 2020, we shared an article written by Zara Bartels, one of the Bates Wells team – sparked by the continuing events endured by Black people in the United States – but also dealing with a very personal journey about the reality of being Black in the workplace in the UK today.

We are dismayed that this continues to be the plight of the Black community.  We have taken time to reflect.  We want our behaviour to help dismantle the barriers and prejudices that stifle equality.

We are committed to stopping all forms of racism and the infrastructure that upholds it, and know that the Black community need our immediate support. By helping our Black colleagues and community, it will positively affect all People of Colour, and create stronger intersectional communities.

Our commitment to changing our behaviour as a firm starts from the leadership.

Bates Wells is a signatory of the Race at Work Charter. As well as the commitments we make through that charter, we have created a new, dedicated role within our REACH (Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage) group to ensure our plans result in real change; they will spearhead our efforts to:

  • Increase our education and understanding; creating opportunities to learn and listen through lectures, events, resources and training
  • Publish effective reporting; capturing and analysing data in ways that guide our transformation
  • Increase visible representation across the firm, especially in our senior ranks; implementing improvements in policy and targeted recruitment and retention
  • Enhance our culture and environment; creating an equal and welcoming space for our Black colleagues, clients and suppliers to thrive and be seen
  • Seek effective ways to eradicate any racism, bias and discrimination in our firm.

We are also the first law firm to adopt the Halo Code. The Halo Code explicitly protects employees who come to work with natural hair and protective hairstyles associated with their racial, ethnic, and cultural identities.

By adopting the Halo Code, we are proactively taking a stand to ensure that no member of our community faces barriers or judgement because of their Afro-textured hair. We recognise and celebrate our colleagues’ identities. We are a community built on an ethos of equality and respect where hair texture and style have no bearing on an employees ability to succeed.

Taking no action is not an option.  We do not accept racist behaviours.  We will continue to educate ourselves and listen to others and work closely with our extended network to promote change.

We hold ourselves and each other to a high standard. We expect everyone at Bates Wells to be actively anti-racist and to engage positively in our anti-racism plan.

We are ready to make this happen.