LONDON - Reed Smith has been named amongst the winners of the FT European Innovative Lawyer Awards 2019 in the Innovation in Diversity and Inclusion category for its work with The Reignite Academy, alongside CMS, Macfarlanes, Orrick, Sidley Austin and White & Case.
Candid picture of a female boss and business team collaborating

The Reignite Academy and the group of City law firms were recognised for their practical approach to retaining women in the legal profession by helping lawyers return to corporate law firms after an extended career break. 

The initiative support lawyers either through individual supported placements or through inclusion on a six month Reignite Programme.

Mehrnaz Afshar began a placement at Reed Smith through The Reignite Academy in January 2019 and was subsequently offered a permanent position in the firm’s Financial Industry Group.

She said: “The Reignite Academy opened doors for me that I thought were firmly shut. Through Reed Smith’s training programme, I have had the opportunity to retrain, upskill and broaden my network within a short space of time. It is fantastic that the legal profession is beginning to understand the importance of a diverse workforce and that a great deal of senior legal talent is being lost due to non-linear career paths.”