b'BACK TO NAVIGATIONIn May 2015 the Law Council of Australia established the Diversity and Equality Charter recognising that treating all people with respect and dignity benefits the legal profession and the community as a whole. All Australian State Law societies and Bar Associations have adopted the Charter and some provide additional resources and support to promote diversity in law firms and other organisations including NSW Law Society Diversity and Equality Charter.Following the call from the Australian Human Rights Commissions July 2016 Leading for Change guidelines, eleven AusLSA members from the Managing Partners Diversity Forum signed a cultural diversity pledge embracing the guidelines and committing to sharing ideas and gathering data on how to increase diversity in leadership. This year these firms followed through on their commitment by conducting an in-depth survey tracking cultural diversity data at partner and senior leadership levels; reviewing position descriptions and key competencies for senior leadership roles; and sharing experiences in relation to the effectiveness of programs such as unconscious bias training to overcome barriers to progress. The group will share information about the trends within their firms and with others in the group.2020 AusLSA Member PerformanceThe AusLSA Sustainability Frameworks values of diversity, equality, respect, and inclusion are highly consistent with the legal professions values of justice, integrity, equity, and the pursuit of excellence. Law firms acknowledge their responsibility and the benefits of improving diversity within their teams and leadership. This year every one of our AusLSA reporting law firms had a policy in place to specifically outline their diversity values and commitments (with one firm acknowledging their policy only partially covered all the aspects that AusLSA outlines).Fifty eight percent of firms promoted their commitment by publishing their diversity policy through their websites or similar means, an increase from forty-six percent in 2018. This increase in the promotion of their positions and commitment to diversity can benefit firms through a greater level of stakeholder engagement and oversight.All reporting firms have now implemented formal governance structures to allocate responsibility for their policy and reporting progress with an increase in the involvement of both partners and committees.Fifty-eight percent of firms allocated accountability to a partner and seventy-one percent established committees to assist with planning and delivery of actions across the firm.Only fourteen AusLSA members are listed by the Law Council of Australia as having formally adopted their Diversity and Equality Charter in which law firms publicly commit to principles of diversity and equality. In addition to reporting on law firms management of diversity and inclusion, the AusLSA framework separately focuses on the different elements of Gender Equality and LGBTIQ+ Inclusion as well as the associated areas of Flexible Working, Indigenous Reconciliation, Psychological Wellbeing. These areas provide additional depth and insight into the commitments and performance in creating a workplace that that supports inclusion and benefits from diversity.Challenges and Opportunities Even as the cultural diversity of the Australian population increases, government, corporates, and law firms remain disproportionally represented by CEOs and Partners from Anglo-Celtic backgrounds. For example, the last Australian census showed that ten percent of Australians had an Asian background, but a 2015 survey by the Asian Australian Lawyers Association of six large firms and forty-four medium firms found that none had Asian Australian Partners, and where they were present, they made up only three percent of Partners across all firms. A recent survey of 11 of Australias biggest law firms which polled 5,000 staff from across Australia, found that while 20 per cent of non-partner lawyers and 25 per cent of law graduates were of an Asian background, just 8 per cent of partners were Asian. The results on Indigenous representation were even more startling, with less than 1 per cent of those polled identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.Only twenty-five percent of law firms in the 2016 Acritas Diversity study were rated as very diverse. While we can currently measure activity in diversity programs, ongoing progress in this space is needed to keep pace with the diversity that exists in the wider Australian community.The Diversity Council of Australia suggests in Building Inclusion: An Evidence-Based Model Of Inclusive Leadership that while the Australian workforce is very diverse by world standard, the real challenge for workplaces and managers is to improve the inclusion of diverse individuals and groups and provide a set of key skills that are required to manage and lead an inclusive workplace.Australian Human Rights Commission Leading for Change guidelines identify three clear priorities that law firms should include in their strategies to generate changes in diversity:Leadership and investmentMeasuring and reportingA culture of identifying and confronting biases.29'