Craig Macphee: Looking for an employer who values diversity? Try us

Edinburgh is breathing a collective sigh of relief and has adopted a gentler pace after a frenetic four weeks of the Edinburgh International Festival, its companion Edinburgh International Book Festival and the madness of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Craig Macphee, senior associate, Pinsent Masons LLPCraig Macphee, senior associate, Pinsent Masons LLP
Craig Macphee, senior associate, Pinsent Masons LLP

A Fringe highlight was a stand-out production by the National Theatre of Scotland of Adam at The Traverse, which was applauded by critics and shone a light on the true story of young asylum seeker and trans man Adam Kashmiry. The production, directed by the award-winning actor and director Cora Bissett, won three awards during its Festival run, including a much-coveted Fringe First award from The Scotsman.

Adam charts the journey of an extraordinary young man across borders and genders, from Egypt – a country where being your authentic self can result in torture and a death sentence – to Glasgow where Adam’s struggle continues and he needs to prove that he is transgender while negotiating bureaucratic hurdles to secure official asylum status.

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Pinsent Masons has been fortunate to enjoy an 11-year relationship with the National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) and have followed the Adam production throughout this summer, joining rehearsals at Rockvilla (NTS’s innovative Speirs Wharf premises in Glasgow) on to the successful Fringe run, and culminating in a sponsored performance at Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre this Friday, 15 September, as part of the production’s run.

Neshla Caplan and Adam Kashmiry in AdamNeshla Caplan and Adam Kashmiry in Adam
Neshla Caplan and Adam Kashmiry in Adam

As a law firm which promotes a variety of diversity and inclusion initiatives across all our international locations, and with a strong track record in supporting LGBT issues, our involvement in Adam was an excellent way of increasing our focus on gender identity. Colleagues from across the firm have been engaged and our sponsorship sends out a strong message to potential recruits and clients that Pinsent Masons is serious about diversity.

Graduates fresh out of university and newly qualified lawyers are extremely savvy when it comes to identifying the best places to work in the fiercely competitive legal world. Some say they positively discriminate amongst the options before them and view Pinsent Masons as offering an inclusive and diverse work environment, while others take it as a “given” because we are one of the world’s leading law firms and consistently placed in the top ten of Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers list for promoting LGBT issues.

The 2017 Stonewall workplace equality index rankings position us as 2nd overall and the top-ranked professional services firm. Globally, we were one of only 12 organisations recognised for upholding inclusive values across international borders.

As our senior partner Richard Foley explains: “We want to create a working environment that values the power of diversity and allows our people to bring their whole selves to work. As a global employer, we recognise the complexity of different attitudes and cultures which our LGBT employees experience in the many countries in which we operate and are committed to ensuring our inclusive culture extends across the entire organisation.” As someone who has spent a lot of time working in the Middle East, this global commitment to inclusion is important. I believe it is critical for firms working across borders to adopt as seamless an approach as possible to supporting LGBT colleagues, while acknowledging there are particular challenges in certain regions, but being prepared to find ways to work around those challenges, while remaining respectful of local customs and laws.

Neshla Caplan and Adam Kashmiry in AdamNeshla Caplan and Adam Kashmiry in Adam
Neshla Caplan and Adam Kashmiry in Adam

In October, Pinsent Masons holds its annual Diversity Week with a wide range of initiatives aimed at promoting a better understanding of LGBT issues. Over the years, we have successfully partnered with a number of other professional services businesses to encourage greater inclusion in the workplace and we find this model works particularly well in Scotland.

We are in the process of forging links with Out in Glasgow, a professional networking group which explores what it is like being LGBT in various different industries, and we have also partnered with other firms in an initiative called Off Site, which is an LGBT network for people working in the construction and infrastructure sectors. These new relationships, our ongoing alliance with the NTS, and a series of internal initiatives, demonstrate that Pinsent Masons is committed to pushing the boundaries to strengthen diversity and inclusion across our business.

Craig Macphee is a Senior Associate, Pinsent Masons LLP. To find out more about Adam, visit