Equality and Diversity Policy
Smith & Graham complies with the requirements set out in legislation in relation to discrimination. This applies to the firm's dealings with members of the firm and other solicitors, barristers, clients and third parties.
Treatment of Staff
Smith & Graham is committed to promoting equality and diversity in its own policies, practices and procedures as well as in those areas in which it has influence. All members of the firm (which in this policy shall include the firm's employees, partners and any self employed person engaged by the firm) will be informed of this policy and will be provided with equality and diversity training appropriate to their needs and responsibilities. All those who act on the firm's behalf will be informed of this equality and diversity policy and will be expected to pay due regard to it when conducting business on the firm's behalf. In all its dealings, including those with suppliers, contractors, and recruitment agencies, the firm will seek to promote the principles of equality and diversity. The firm will make every effort to reflect its commitment to equality and diversity in its marketing and communication activities.
Treatment of Third Parties
The firm will treat everyone equally and with the same attention, courtesy and respect and will not discriminate without lawful cause against any person, nor victimise or harass them on the grounds of their:-
race or racial group (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origins);
gender including marital status, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity and paternity;
sexual orientation including civil partnership status;
religion or belief;
disability or illness.
Protection of Members of Staff and Clients
The firm will take such steps and make such adjustments as are reasonable in all the circumstances in order to prevent any member of the firm and clients from being placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with those who are not disabled.
Mindfulness toward Equality and Diversity in Recruitment, Promotion and Disciplinary Actions
In addition to the above, when the firm is dealing with members of the firm this will, for example, include arrangements for recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment, access to training opportunities, access to promotion and transfers, grievance and disciplinary processes, demotions, selection for redundancies, dress code, references, work allocation and any other employment related matters having regard to levels of qualification and experiences.
Clients - Accepting Instructions
The firm is generally free to decide whether to accept instructions for any particular client, but any refusal to act will not be based upon any of the prohibited grounds referred to in paragraph 2. However, the firm will take steps to meet the different needs of particular clients arising from its obligations under the anti-discrimination legislation.
Meeting the diverse needs of our clients and the local community
All staff employed by Smith & Graham will be mindful at all times of meeting the diverse needs of clients and the local communities to the best of their abilities. Staff should consider whether it is appropriate to offer home visits or other special measures to ensure that as many members of the local communities that we serve are able to access our services regardless of their personal circumstances.
Staff should consider at all times that some of our clients may note be literate and have issues with reading and writing. It should be considered whether it is appropriate in those circumstances to: -
send those clients legal documents and/ or reports which they might find confusing and difficult to understand;
offer a longer appointment time to enable key documents to be read by the client and fee earner and explained in a manner in which they can understand.
Implementation and Monitoring
In implementing its equality and diversity policy this firm will comply with Rule 6 of the Solicitors' Code of Conduct 2007 and with current and future anti-discrimination legislation and associated codes of practice and any relevant amendments or re-enactments of such legislation and any relevant amendment to such codes or further codes of practice.
Updating this Policy
This policy will be monitored periodically by the firm to evaluate its effectiveness and if any changes are required they will be implemented. The policy will be updated as and when changes in legislation and regulation occur.
Every member of the firm will receive a copy of this policy and it will be available on request to any client and to the Solicitors' Regulation Authority.
The firm will treat seriously and take action where appropriate concerning all complaints of breaches of this policy made by members of the firm, clients, barristers or other third parties. All complaints will be investigated in accordance with the firm's grievance disciplinary and/ or complaints procedures and the complaintant will be informed of the outcome.