A regional law firm is leading the way for gender equality and inclusion as it celebrates International Women’s Day.
Ellis Jones Solicitors – with more than 170 employees and 21 partners in six offices – has revealed that more than three-quarters (78 per cent) of its overall staff are female.
Over half of the firm’s associates, senior associates and partners collectively are women – including newly promoted partner Victoria Riddleston.
The firm has recently introduced improved maternity pay. This enhanced scheme now includes 12 weeks’ full pay and 12 weeks’ half pay, effectively the equivalent of 18 weeks full pay.
In another initiative, Ellis Jones is sponsoring Soroptimist International Bournemouth’s STEAM Challenge for Year 8 and Year 9 girls.
With a shortage of girls taking science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) subjects as school, the project aims to promote participation and raise aspirations in industries often perceived as male dominated.
The firm also continues to raise awareness and break down barriers in such areas as the menopause, IVF, baby loss awareness, new parents returning to work, and health and wellbeing.
Kate Brooks, partner and head of employment/HR services, said: “There is no glass ceiling at Ellis Jones.
“As a profession and a firm we are committed to breaking bias, stereotypes and discrimination in respect of all protected characteristics, not just gender.
“We are extremely proud of the progress that we have made to achieve women’s equality, and inclusion.”
Ellis Jones has a flexible working policy generally in terms of hours, location and working arrangements.
Lauren Day, partner and head of dispute resolution, said: “We are continually looking at ways we can improve equality, diversity and inclusion.
“We raise awareness in a range of areas, including education where the STEAM Challenge is so important to broaden the horizons of young girls and raise their aspirations for fulfilling and worthwhile careers.”
There are nine female associates, five senior associates and six partners at Ellis Jones – representing over half of the firm’s senior management team.
International Women’s Day is on Tuesday March 8, this year with the theme of ‘break the bias’.
Ellis Jones has offices in Bournemouth, Canford Cliffs (Poole), Ringwood, Swanage and Wimborne as well as London.