16 PEOPLE | LEGAL SECTOR SUSTAINABILITY INSIGHT 2016 DIVERSITY Understanding and valuing personal and organisational diversity creates an environment where everyone feels safe and respected, and facilitates increased productivity, performance and creativity. Businesses with more diverse workforces better reflect the changing make up of their corporate customers which improves working relationships and effectiveness International research conducted by Acritas Research found that diverse teams earn twenty-five percent more revenue, and are fifty percent more likely to achieve a ‘perfect ten’ performance score. Their client satisfaction ratings are also more than three times higher. The report also said “that a lack of diversity is detrimental to long-term financial success for law firms.” Effectively managing diversity and inclusion also assists law firms to: • Comply with applicable legislation and regulation. • Match increasing client diversity and expectations. • Sustain a changing professional profile to attract and retain a better and more responsive workforce. However, 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 they made up only three per cent of Partners across all firms. Many law firms are aware of these gaps and have started to promote practices that accommodate, encourage, and respect a diverse range of individuals and views. These include diverse gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, race, ethnicity, religion and culture. In 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”. During this year’s Cultural Diversity Week eleven AusLSA members from the Managing Partners’ Diversity Forum signed a cultural diversity pledge to share ideas and gather data on how to increase diversity in leadership. The group also committed to using the Australian Human Rights Commission Leading for Change guidelines delivering on their pledge. FORMAL POLICY PUBLISHED POLICY 50% 50% 91% 9% Yes No Yes Partial POLICY PUBLISHED