Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Stone King

At Stone King, we don’t just understand that everyone is different, we know that these differences make us better lawyers and a stronger firm.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are central to our culture and strategy, and our Core Values underpin our inclusive approach to our clients, communities, and colleagues. We are committed to promoting an inclusive and equitable working environment that supports the growth and development of all our people. We also recognise the importance of improving access to the legal profession, and of investing in our local communities.

We know that these issues are complex and that there is no easy fix. We are clear that meaningful progress requires real investment and tangible commitment from all levels within our firm, particularly from our senior leaders.

We have a partner-led DE&I Strategy Group that oversees the development and delivery of the firm’s DE&I agenda. Our Strategy Group is chaired by Jean Boyle, Head of our Employment and Regulatory Team.  We also have a DE&I Adviser, Rachel Feilden, who leads on the firm’s DE&I initiatives, and a specialist HR Data Analyst, Shelley Pattenden, who ensures we are able to utilise our data to inform strategy and monitor progress.

All of our people are given a DE&I induction, have ongoing access to DE&I training materials, and our senior staff have mandatory DE&I training targets and are asked to identify and meet a DE&I objective annually. The need for a demonstrable commitment to DE&I is also woven into each of our progression pathways.

We partner with a number of organisations and are part of a variety of initiatives, all aiming to foster a true sense of belonging and inclusion. You can read more about some of the projects Stone King is involved in below.

Affiliations, Memberships and Projects

We are a Disability Confident employer, which is a government scheme designed to encourage and support employers in the recruitment and retention of disabled people and those with health conditions. As a Disability Confident employer, we are committed to actively attracting and recruiting disabled people, and to providing a fully inclusive and accessible recruitment process. Under the scheme, we offer interviews to disabled applicants who meet the criteria for the job. We are also committed to supporting our existing employees by promoting a culture of being Disability Confident, making sure our people know how to request support and adjustments, and ensuring managers know how they can support their team members who have disabilities or health conditions.

We are signatories to the Race Fairness Commitment, which sets out a series of standards and detailed reporting requirements designed to promote racial equity. As part of the Commitment, we monitor interview rates, offer rates, promotion rates and stay gaps. We also conduct an annual ethnicity equal pay analysis and take various steps to support our junior ethnic minority talent

Stone King is one of the first signatories to the Age-Friendly Employer Pledge, an initiative of the Centre for Ageing Better, asking employers to recognise the importance and value of older workers. Alison Allen, the firm’s Chair and Head of our Private Client Sector, is our senior sponsor for age inclusion in our workforce. Under the Pledge, we have committed to creating an age-friendly culture, hiring age-positively, embracing flexible working, and ensuring health support is provided and career development encouraged across all ages.

We are members of LegalCORE, the first leadership-led, cross-firm collective aimed at tackling the under representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups across the legal industry in the UK. The collective acts as a convening body for law firms and provides a forum for the discovery of innovative solutions. It aims to work collaboratively with existing diversity- and inclusion-focused groups, networks, organisations and experts to enhance collective action and impact.

The firm is a member of LeGal BesT, a London-based network of law firms championing LGBTQ+ issues and providing support, education and social opportunities to staff. Member firms are committed to ensuring they provide a fair and inclusive working environment to all LGBTQ+ staff, and to sharing and promoting best practice. The network also offers social and networking opportunities, with past speakers including Lady Phyll, Peter Tatchell, Lord Chris Smith, Evan Davis and Sir Derek Jacobi. The network is open to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and all members of the firm are encouraged to get involved.

Stone King has adopted the Halo Code, the UK’s first code relating to Black hair. The Halo Code explicitly protects staff who come to work with natural hair and protective hairstyles associated with their racial, ethnic, and cultural identities. The Code is set out within the firm’s dress code and is part of our broader commitment to ensuring we provide our people with an inclusive and equitable workplace. You can see the complete Halo Code here.

We recognise the critical importance of wellbeing and mental health and have a partner-led Wellbeing Strategy Group chaired by Tom Morrison, our Head of Further Education. We have 19 members of staff who are trained as Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA). Our MHFAs have received training in both the practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues, and how to offer reassurance and support to anyone experiencing distress. They are also able to signpost colleagues to further external support.

We are signatories of the Mindful Business Charter, a practical framework that encourages thoughtfulness about the impact we have on each other at work.  The Charter is made up of four ‘pillars’: openness and respect; smart meetings and communications; respecting rest periods; mindful delegation. It aims to facilitate open and honest conversations with others by providing a common language and setting out best practice behavioural principles to tackle and reduce avoidable stress in the workplace.