Burness Paull – Spotlight on Inclusive Culture

Burness Paull, founded in 2012, is a prominent Scottish commercial law firm with a robust presence across key cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen. The firm comprises approximately 90 partners and a team of 560 dedicated professionals, including legally qualified staff and business support personnel.

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Burness Paull has confronted significant challenges in reshaping the perception of a legal career. Overcoming the entrenched notion that success in law is reserved for the privileged few willing to sacrifice personal lives for a high-pressure job has been paramount. This outdated belief has necessitated concerted efforts to create a culture of psychological safety and encourage open disclosure. Addressing stigma and discrimination surrounding hidden conditions like mental health, menopause, and neurodiversity has also been a key focus, alongside the challenge of attracting candidates from underrepresented backgrounds.

Innovative actions

From recruitment to exit interviews, inclusive practices were embedded at every stage, including contextual recruitment and blind CV interviewing. Employee feedback was centrally gathered through various channels, such as annual engagement surveys and pulse surveys. The organisation maintained a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination, bullying, and harassment, supported by comprehensive training and policy frameworks. Employee-led groups actively shaped the culture and drove policy changes. Additionally, the company set diverse recruitment and promotion targets, conducted annual equalities monitoring, and utilised an applicant tracking system to ensure inclusivity at all levels.

Evidence of impact

In their engagement survey, diversity and inclusion (D&I) ranked highest, with 92% feeling comfortable at work, 89% feeling respected, and 85% believing in success for diverse backgrounds. Burness Paull now attracts above-average candidates from underrepresented backgrounds and has reduced attrition by 4%. More colleagues are joining networks and sharing experiences, leading to increased survey responses and requests for adjustments. There’s also a notable increase in disclosures about mental health and other conditions. Externally, they’ve achieved silver TIDE status, Top 75 Social Mobility Index, Menopause-Friendly accreditation, Stonewall Top 100, and EcoVadis gold level. Candidates cite the organisation’s D&I efforts as a key reason for applying.

The information contained within this resource was accurate at the time of its publication. This article was created in March 2024.

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