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Top London law firm reveals retention gap for Black, minority ethnic lawyers

Allen & Overy (A&O), one of Britain's top law firms, said on Wednesday Black lawyers left its London office almost two-and-a-half years before their white peers, as it pledged to publish an annual "stay gap" to improve staff diversity.

By 2025, A&O also plans to ensure 15% of London partners come from ethnic minorities, compared to 9% currently, and to increase the percentage of ethnic minority lawyers and support staff to 25%.

The firm at present has no Black partners in London. About 22% of its associates, 31% of its trainees, and 16% of support staff are currently from BAME backgrounds.

A&O plans to annually employ 35% ethnic minority trainees, including 10% Black trainees, equalise retention rates for trainee lawyers and focus on retaining more Black associates.

Other top London law firms have also been trying to tackle diversity.

Clifford Chance - like A&O, a member of London's Magic Circle of five top firms by revenue - plans to ensure that 15% of all partner recruits in Britain and 30% of senior associates and senior business professionals will be from ethnic minorities by 2025.

(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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