The start of 2022 has seen London-headquartered law firm Bristows launch a number of programmes and tools, which, in line with its core values, supports its ongoing efforts to promote gender and age inclusivity and the general wellbeing of its staff. Bristows’ employees have been presented with new initiatives that provide help for critical moments in their personal lives and are particularly helpful for women. They include three new policies, a first-of-its-kind healthcare app, and domestic abuse support service.
In January the firm introduced three new supportive policies, putting on paper new rules for Menopause Support, Pregnancy Loss and Fertility Treatment:
- All staff are now entitled to paid leave for fertility treatments, as well as five extra working days of paid leave for dealing with the related physical and emotional effects. This extends to those who are attending appointments in a supportive capacity.
- Bristows partners, managers and the human resources team are now responsible for ensuring that all menopausal employees receive the right support and suitable adjustments to their working environment and working patterns.
- In the case of pregnancy loss, employees, including those supporting their partner, are entitled to two weeks of paid leave.
The firm also launched the Peppy app for all staff. The tool offers healthcare information on fertility, babies and menopause, as well as chats, live online events and free one-to-one consultations with medical professionals. The app is also available to partners of employees giving all access to the full choice of services.
Comments from early users demonstrate the positive effect the app is already having: “All the advice [the consultant] passed on seemed very tailor-made and personal” “I also signed up to one of the events and found it really helpful, and everyone seemed to join in the conversion which was nice.”
In February Bristows started working with legal consultant Caroline Glass, who specialises in domestic abuse support. Ms Glass shared with attendees of her seminar that 25% of women and 15% of men experience domestic abuse at some point in their life and one in three women during lockdowns. Bristows is the first firm in London appointing Ms Glass to provide ad-hoc support to its staff, in an anonymised way. With four to six sessions of advice and guidance on the key domestic abuse dynamics, and including safety planning, this service aims at deescalating and reducing risk for the survivors.
Around two-third of Bristows staff, and almost a third of equity partners are women. The firm continues to be actively involved with the Law Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Charter, via its internal Inclusion Group and Women’s Network, and it signed up to the Mindful Business Charter in May 2021.
In celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, the Women’s Network at Bristows organised a live talk with two of Bristows litigators: Angela Fouracre, who specialises in technology disputes, and Pat Treacy, competition expert, deputy IP judge, former head of the competition practice – and former managing partner. Pat and Angela will discuss their careers and their experience in litigation.