04:19, February 23 637 0

2018-02-23 04:19:06
Travers introduces safe word to call out inappropriate behaviour

Travers Smith has launched a campaign to help its staff feel empowered to call out inappropriate language within the firm.

‘#ThatsNotCool’ is being promoted as the phrase that anyone at the firm can use if they feel uncomfortable with something a colleague has said.

The three-word message, which Travers is using in hashtag format, emerged out of a partners’ brainstorming session about how to call out inappropriate language. 

So far it has been promoted through the firm’s inclusive language seminars, run by its CSR and diversity director Chris Edwards and employment partner Siân Keall, but managing partner David Patient said there will eventually be a wider campaign around it.

“It is about trying to promote inclusion in the broader sense,” Patient told The Lawyer. “We were trying to find a way to empower people to support each other. If someone finds something that has been said uncomfortable, they don’t have to shy away, they can say ‘That’s not cool’ and immediately the whole situation is defused. It’s not about blame or ridicule, it makes things non-confrontational.”

It is not the first time the legal profession has grappled with more sensitive use of language. In 2016 The Lawyer revealed that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was officially banning ‘Dear Sirs’ from all of its communications and legal documents.