02 January 2019

On 14 July 2018 more than 36,000 people took to the streets of Bristol to celebrate and support Pride, taking a positive stance against discrimination and violence towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people while promoting equality and diversity.

For the third year running, a team from Burges Salmon joined the record-breaking 12,000-strong parade through the city, walking from Castle Park to Millennium Square with a banner and Burges Salmon t-shirts demonstrating its support for the event. Burges Salmon also had a stand at the main festival in the Square, where people of all ages and backgrounds came to speak to the team to find out more about the firm, and where it handed out branded goodies.

John Smith from the firm’s Employment team led the participation in the event, supported by a team of volunteers from across the business including senior Real Estate lawyer Michael Bray. Michael says: 'It’s great to see how, as a firm, we are able to take a lead in the legal sector on what we’re doing to promote diversity and inclusion, and to support the LGBT+ community. Through Pride and PROUDBristol, we want to empower people to go back and make change in their own businesses, as well as encourage an inclusive and accepting environment at Burges Salmon.'

John continues: 'We had some incredible feedback from local professionals getting in touch after the Pride event, saying how positive it was to see Burges Salmon standing out for diversity and LGBT+ rights. It was great to have the opportunity to speak to the community about the what the firm is doing for diversity and inclusivity generally, in particular through our LGBT+ initiatives.'

John and Michael were heavily involved in the launch of the firm’s BProud internal LGBT+ society, which meets regularly for social events and supports a number of networking initiatives including attending the annual Bristol Pride Gala Ball. BProud plays a key role in raising awareness of the firm’s LGBT+ initiatives and collaborated with the firm’s caterers BaxterStory as well as its Marketing, PR and Design teams to deliver such a successful representation at Pride. BaxterStory produced special Pride cakes in the week before the event, helping to highlight the cause.

BProud has also been instrumental in the formation of PROUDBristol, which is a new network for professionals working in and around Bristol, extending beyond the legal industry to include a number of other professions such as bankers, engineers and planners. John says: 'There were a few different local organisations and we collaborated with others to bring them all together, drawing professionals from all sorts of fields for monthly meetings and social events.'

The firm is a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, which is the leading employers’ programme for ensuring all LGBT+ staff are accepted without exception in the workplace, and also works with six of the other large law firms in Bristol to promote diversity in the legal industry.

Burges Salmon partner and head of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Group, Liz Dunn, concludes: 'We value a diverse workforce and the contribution each individual makes. Our culture is open and collaborative and we strive to promote an inclusive environment where everyone feels they can be themselves at work.

'To top off a great year, we were honoured in November to have been named Best Law Firm at the Bristol Pride Awards for the second year running, which is fantastic recognition of our continued work supporting LGBT+ initiatives across the firm and the wider community. Many thanks to everyone involved in BProud, and our allies and ambassadors across the firm, for supporting and celebrating diversity this year.'

It’s great to see how, as a firm, we are able to take a lead in the legal sector on what we’re doing to promote diversity and inclusion.
Michael Bray, Senior Real Estate Lawyer at Burges Salmon

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