Matrix is committed to being an anti-racist organisation. We believe this means not merely refraining from acting in a racially discriminatory way, but taking proactive steps to confront and remedy the effects of existing and systemic racism in all its forms within our organisation and in our work.
A key part of that commitment is to create a work environment in which members, trainees, staff and clients from all backgrounds can live and work free from prejudice, discrimination, and marginalisation.
The promotion of equality and diversity has always been a key component of Matrix’s core values since we were founded in 2000. The events of 2020 – including the prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement – have provided important renewed focus on combating racism against Black people, in particular, and people from other minority ethnic communities more generally. We have recognised that despite our years of good intentions and gradual change for the better, our efforts have not yielded sufficient results and we must commit to more meaningful action in order to make effective change.
As a result, last year Matrix began a multi-year programme of work that reflects our commitment to be a truly anti-racist organisation in the future. This includes:
- Setting up an internal Race Working Group, led by members and staff with significant experience in addressing issues of discrimination, racism, equality and diversity in the legal profession and beyond.
- Focusing on improving our recruitment and training for both staff and members so that our organisation attracts and retains the best talent in our profession from all backgrounds, and properly reflects the diversity of modern society.
- Investing in new programmes and research that addresses structural racism and inequalities at the Bar and will guide the work in this area, not just of Matrix, but of other legal organisations.
- Working with other providers of legal services, specialist consultants and other professionals – both within and outside the legal profession – to ensure that our efforts are informed by best practice and fresh, innovative thinking.
- Gathering data and evidence and setting relevant targets to provide a solid foundation for our work and as an effective way of measuring both our challenges and our results.
- A commitment to improving the ‘pipeline’ of talent into the legal profession by funding organisations such as the Amos Bursary that provide young talented people a pathway into higher education.
- Joining the 10,000 Black Interns scheme which aims to create a sustainable cycle of mentorship and sponsorship for the Black community by providing paid training and development opportunities.
- Building on the BSB’s Anti-Racist Statement and the Bar Council’s Framework for Taking Action on Equality, to produce a wider anti-racist action plan, which will include a race equality audit, input from external experts and comprehensive anti-racism training for all members, trainees and staff.
- Signing up to the Bridging the Bar initiative that aims to improve equality of access to mini pupillages across all underrepresented groups.
Matrix is dedicated to achieving meaningful and sustainable change and we will continue to develop our anti-racist practice by reviewing and reflecting on its progress on an ongoing basis.
In this work we have made a deliberate effort to include the insight, experience and talent of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people at every step and at every level. We have committed to doing so in order to ensure that our staff and members reflect who we are as a modern, international organisation based in London. But more importantly, it is the only way we will benefit from the full range of talent and skills available to us and maintain our longstanding reputation for providing the legal services of the highest quality to our clients.
We have made this statement to share our intention and to hold ourselves accountable. It is reasonable for victims of racism to take the view that well-meaning words and good intentions are not enough. Organisations that claim to be anti-racist should expect to be judged not merely by their aspirations but also by their results. At Matrix we are determined to meet that challenge.
We have published this ‘anti-racist’ statement in accordance with the terminology used by the Bar Standards Board. But we think it is more accurately described as an ‘anti-racism’ statement.
This is because racism and its effects can happen at any time within any organisation, even those with good intentions and who are seeking to be “anti-racist”. Our aim is not simply to be “anti-racist”, but continually to combat racism, wherever and whenever it arises in our work and in our organisation.