Castrén & Snellman Celebrates European Diversity Month

Last week Castrén & Snellman celebrated European Diversity Month by organising a panel in which our employees discussed the firm’s strategy, values and diversity. The panel was a part of our internal diversity efforts to improve our personnel’s experience of how diversity and inclusion are realised in the workplace.

Diversity relates to all four of our values: the Spark, Respect, Courage and Responsibility. The panellists found Courage to be the value most connected with diversity. A diverse work community requires courage to be oneself as well as courage to step in when faced with inappropriate behaviour.

In addition to our values, another important guide for our work for diversity is Castrén & Snellman’s strategic goal of becoming the best workplace in the legal sector. The panellists agreed that different and varied views increase the wellbeing of the work community, which is in turn reflected in our client work.

Equality survey highlights the need to discuss diversity

We conduct regular equality surveys internally to monitor how well we have succeeded in our diversity work. In the latest survey early this year, 80% of the respondents somewhat or fully agreed that our work community supports employees expressing their membership in various minorities if they wish.

Correspondingly, a fifth of respondents felt that this is not the case.

The comments indicated that, though people felt there was no obstacle to expressing a minority identity at the workplace, the heteronormativity of the field in general, for example, does not encourage such expression.

What have we done so far?

We launched our diversity efforts in 2020. Through discussions with our personnel, we identified aspects of diversity that were of particular importance to us. With these as our starting point, we planned and executed a series of diversity actions.

  • Diversity training: In a series of trainings aimed at our whole personnel and led by Jonna Louvrier from Includia Leadership, we studied differences and team dynamics as well as promoting inclusion in the work community. Jani Toivola, Expert by Experience, talked about the position of minorities at the workplace.
  • Diversity induction: In the autumn of 2021, we piloted a web-based diversity induction training. After the initial test phase, we rolled out the training for our whole personnel, and it is now a permanent part of our induction programme.
  • Work experience for comprehensive school students: We launched a collaboration with a local comprehensive school by offering work experience placements for its students. The students at this school do not typically pursue legal studies. Our goal is to make the field of law seem more approachable to young people and to encourage new students to apply to law school.
  • Gender-neutral terminology: In the spring of 2021, we adopted the use of gender-neutral terminology both internally and in our client work.

We will continue striving for a more diverse workplace by hosting events and providing training. We also want to expand our collaboration with schools to make the legal world more diverse in the future.