Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has launched a unique equality law specialism that supports businesses in managing the cultural and legal aspects of discrimination and inclusion issues.

The new practice addresses a broader challenge facing organisations when equality issues arise, by identifying and tackling the root cause as well as solving the legal matter.

The practice will be jointly led by Legal Directors Susannah Donaldson and Kate Dodd who are based in Edinburgh and Manchester, respectively. The specialist offering will support Pinsent Masons’ 500 Scottish staff working with clients from offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Pinsent Masons is uniquely placed to advise in this area, with longstanding expertise in Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) and it remains the only law firm with a dedicated D&I consultancy, Brook Graham.

The team already has a strong track record of advising a number of clients on employment and diversity matters, and recent work includes providing support on pay gap reporting, strategies for achieving better diversity at senior levels, and the development of progressive family leave policies.

Susannah Donaldson said: “Diverse and inclusive businesses are more profitable, more innovative, and better placed to engage with their shareholders, clients, and incoming talent.

“Boardrooms are no longer discussing whether a change is needed, but how that change is achieved. As a professional services firm with law at the core, our new practice bridges a crucial gap in the process and helps organisations to become an employer of choice.”

Kate Dodd added: “Dealing with equality or discrimination matters in isolation fails to get to the root of the issue and left unmanaged, is highly damaging to culture.

Diversity and inclusion expert, Kate Dodd, Legal Director, Pinsent Masons

“Our deep sectoral knowledge, and experience in helping multi-national businesses to navigate both jurisdictional laws and cultural sensitivities, means we are well placed to guide clients through challenges that are very specific to their industry and region.”

For many organisations, drivers of structural inequality and unconscious bias are highly complex and can be impacted by a range of internal and external factors, which make positive change difficult to achieve. Businesses which seek to mitigate the likelihood of future problems can avoid a lasting impact on their culture.