Addleshaw Goddard's Managing Partner has apologised after the firm posted what detractors said was a "tone-deaf" statement about the Black Lives Matter movement.
In its message on LinkedIn, Addleshaw Goddard rejected the familiar corporate promise to 'listen and do better' and instead asserted that it had already got matters of race sorted. "Look around AG and you'll find people from every walk of life", it claimed. "Wherever you are in the world and whoever you are, AG is committed to supporting all our people to be the best they can be". Luckily, "We do not condone racism", it clarified.
The post continued to look suspiciously like an advert by boasting that Addleshaw Goddard lawyers were "A diverse group of original thinkers, decision makers and negotiators who deliver results".
Critics accused the firm of piggybacking the outrage at the unjust treatment of black people to advertise its business acumen and diversity credentials.
"Absolutely tone deaf", said a source. "They’ve used the black lives matter protests as a PR opportunity".
That impression was compounded by the inclusion of references to AG's progressive stance on other issues. "We have one thing in common", asserted the post. "A feeling that we're 'in it together' regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation".
"They have conflated race, gender, sexuality in a way they wouldn’t have done for the #metoo movement", said a source. "I don’t know why they’ve presented themselves as a shining beacon of hope among all this. There is a problem across the City (and the world) and it wouldn’t have been a scandal to admit it. Even if it were, that’s the point! You can’t escape your privilege without getting uncomfortable".
Discomfort has now been achieved. Apologising for the work of whichever marketing bod got stuck in commercial awareness mode, John Joyce, Managing Partner, said, "We recognise that we made mistakes in the message we posted and are really sorry that we have caused upset. We know we have a long way to go and are determined to do all we can to improve, including listening to what people have said to us and learning from our errors. We are really grateful for people having taken the time to help us identify how and where we went wrong."
Last week Freshfields came under fire after its Senior Partner pledged allegiance to 'Blacks', which also resulted in apologies.