Equality and Inclusion Policy
Scope of this policy
This policy sets out our approach to equal opportunities and the avoidance of discrimination at work. It applies to all aspects of working with and for us, including the working relationships with:
- our colleagues (including recruitment, pay and conditions, training, appraisals, promotion, conduct at work, disciplinary and grievance procedures, the working environment generally as well as termination of employment);
- our clients, such as how we take on new clients and work;
- suppliers of goods and services to us and to our clients, including instructing barristers and experts; and
- third parties and their representatives.
It applies to all of our staff and also informs our development of policies and procedures and our operational practices.
We are committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity in all aspects of our business. We and all of our staff will respect diversity and promote equality of opportunity. We shall treat everyone we encounter in our work fairly and with respect, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital and civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality and national origin, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation (‘Protected Characteristics’).
We are committed to making reasonable adjustments for clients and staff (including those applying to join our team) with a disability to ensure that they are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to those who are not disabled. We will not make a charge to our staff or our clients for an adjustment we make for them. In particular and where appropriate, we are happy to:
- visit clients at home if our premises are not accessible to them due to a physical limitation;
- offer different options for communicating with individuals who have a visual, speech or hearing impairment, including arranging signing facilities; and
- for clients whose first language is not English, facilitate and support access to interpretative and translative support as far as possible.
We shall also take care to ensure that our communications (our website in particular) are provided in an accessible format.
We as a business will never discriminate unlawfully or bully, victimise or harass anyone and we will not tolerate such behaviour from our staff. As a business we will also take steps to train our staff and raise awareness to prevent unlawful discrimination, bullying, harassment or victimisation. If any problems are identified, we will act promptly and effectively to resolve them.
The following forms of discrimination are prohibited under this policy and are unlawful:
- Direct discrimination: treating someone less favourably because of a Protected Characteristic. For example, rejecting a job applicant because of their religious views or because they might be gay.
- Indirect discrimination: a provision, criterion or practice that applies to everyone but adversely affects people with a particular Protected Characteristic more than others and is not justified. For example, requiring a job to be done full-time rather than part-time would adversely affect women because they generally have greater childcare commitments than men. Such a requirement could be discriminatory unless it can be justified.
- Harassment: this includes sexual harassment and other unwanted conduct related to a Protected Characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.
- Victimisation: retaliation against someone who has complained or has supported someone else’s complaint about discrimination or harassment.
- Disability discrimination: this includes sexual harassment and other unwanted conduct related to a Protected Characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.
We hope to go beyond the basic legal requirements in this area and create a business in which individual differences are valued.
We will make this policy available to our clients and others on our website and will draw our client’s attention to this policy when we are first instructed. It is made available to our staff by its inclusion in our office manual. We encourage clients and suppliers in particular to engage with us about any concerns which they have about delivering on the commitments we make in this policy.
Recruitment and selection
Recruitment, promotion and other selection exercises will be conducted on the basis of merit, against objective criteria that avoid discrimination. Shortlisting will be done by more than one person if possible.
Vacancies will generally be advertised to a diverse section of the labour market. Advertisements will avoid stereotyping or using wording that may discourage particular groups from applying.
Job applicants will not be asked questions which might suggest an intention to discriminate on grounds of a Protected Characteristic. For example, applicants will not be asked whether they are pregnant or planning to have children.
Job applicants will not be asked about health or disability before a job offer is made, except in the very limited circumstances allowed by law: for example, to check that the applicant could perform an intrinsic part of the job (taking account of any reasonable adjustments), or to see if any adjustments might be needed at interview because of a disability. Where necessary, job offers can be made conditional on a satisfactory medical check. Health or disability questions may be included in equal opportunities monitoring forms, which will not be used for selection or decision-making purposes.
Part-time and fixed-term work
Part-time and fixed-term employees will be treated the same as comparable full-time or permanent employees and will enjoy no less favourable terms and conditions (on a pro-rata basis where appropriate), unless different treatment is justified.
All staff receive training on our obligations under the Equality Act, the SRA Codes of Conduct and our equality and inclusion values more generally as part of our core induction training.
We use our quality and standards assurance processes to ensure that our service remains of a high technical and ethical standard. This will include consideration of whether staff are meeting the requirements of this policy and the law in this area.
We strongly believe in the benefits of a diverse workforce. We will periodically monitor the diversity of our workforce in an effort to build a strong and diverse team. We will follow the SRA guidance on reporting and publishing our diversity data. Generally speaking, we aim to publish a summary of our diversity data, but we will not publish our diversity data unless we can be satisfied that there is no material risk of an individual being identified from the anonymised data.
Serious or persistent failures by any member of staff to satisfy the standards set out in this policy and in law in this area may result in disciplinary action, including in appropriate cases dismissal.
This policy will be reviewed annually by us and the review shall include an assessment of whether the policy is achieving its goals in practice.
Yulia BarnesManaging Partner
Yulia Barnes is our Managing Partner. She is an experienced solicitor and advises on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters for both private and corporate clients.Yulia started her legal career at a large international Magic Circle firm. She then became a partner at a regional law firm and headed a Dispute Resolution Department. She then moved in-house before starting her own Boutique practice, Barnes Law, with the aim of providing exclusive services to high net-worth individuals and privately-owned businesses. More details can be found on her LinkedIn profile.
Expertise Yulia and her team are widely recognised for their professional and practical approach to matters. She is committed to ensuring that her clients’ objectives are achieved in the most cost-effective way possible.
Approach Yulia has a wealth of experience working with businesses of all sizes: from large multinational corporations to start-ups. She has particular expertise in a hospitality industry, investment funds, private and corporate clients, and focuses on startups and technology-driven companies. Yulia brings the same level of attention to detail, professionalism and a personal touch to every case and client, and truly immerses herself in her clients’ businesses. She prides herself on her problem-solving, commercially astute approach and her track record of partnering with clients to help them achieve their strategic objectives.
Will joined Barnes Law as an Associate Solicitor in Spring 2023, shortly after qualifying in September 2022.
Will works mostly on real estate and corporate/commercial matters. Will enjoys providing advice on transactional matters.
Away from the office, Will can be found reading or playing golf. While he played rugby until university, and rowed throughout his degree, he now tends to watch both from the sidelines. During the winter he can also be found skiing.
Will plans to continue developing his legal skills and experience at Barnes Law, under the expertise and guidance provided by Yulia.
Mark is an experienced solicitor whose practice areas include intellectual property (IP), IT, data protection and general commercial law.
Mark advises businesses of all sizes – from sole traders to corporations. Among his clients are: clothing and lifestyle brands, restaurants and food suppliers, IT companies, banks, hedge funds and venture capital firms, education providers, medical and pharmaceutical brands.
Outside of his practice, Mark also advises members of the Institute of Directors as part of its Directors’ Advisory Service.
- Prosecuting a UK trademark application on behalf of an education provider and representing them in related UK IPO opposition and revocation proceedings;
- Advising a publisher and a delivery business on data protection matters, B2B and B2C Ts & Cs of sale, website and app Ts & Cs, all aspects of global brand protection;
- Advising footwear brands, alternative asset managers and hedge funds on their global brand protection, including overcoming various refusals, representing them in opposition proceedings and settlement negotiations;
- Representing a central bank in opposition proceedings before the UK IPO;
- Advising a lifestyle brand concerning trademark clearance and protection, negotiations for a website/app development and maintenance agreement.
Ioulia TatawatFamily Law Adviser
Ioulia has a solid background in family law and offers guidance, clarity, and support to clients during one of their most challenging times in their life.
She advises on all three pillars of separation: divorce, children matters and financial settlements. Ioulia is a member of Resolution and is keen to try to settle matters at early stages.
Ioulia is dedicated to assisting clients and navigating them through their legal matters with clarity and support.
Alex joined Barnes Law in September 2023 after finishing his master’s degree in law. Prior to joining Barnes Law, Alex worked in property litigation at Ashfords. Alex assists Yulia on a variety of both contentious and non-contentious matters.
Outside of the office, Alex enjoys reading and hiking. Prior to working in law, Alex was a competitive tennis player.
Alex continues to develop his skills in legal practice under Yulia’s guidance, he plans to sit the Solicitor’s Qualifying Exams (SQE) in 2024.
Mehves joined Barnes Law in August 2023, right after graduating from Queen Mary, University of London (LLB Senior Status). As part of her qualification journey, Mehves is currently pursuing her Legal Practice Course (‘LPC’) at the University of Law. She also holds a degree in European Union Law from Maastricht University, Netherlands.
Mehves works closely with Yulia on a variety of contentions matters and also writes Barnes Law’s legal blogs, manages social media accounts and is responsible for marketing.
Outside of work and studies, she enjoys running, tennis and yoga.
Mehves is looking forward to developing her legal skills at Barnes Law.
Julia PodgornovaInvestor Relationship Manager
Julia guides clients in making important business decisions based on comprehensive risk assessment and strategy. She supports investors in devising strategies designed to maximise each business’s potential from pre-seed to IPO.
Julia’s particular area of expertise are IT start-ups at different stages. Julia supports business through their fund-raising journey. As an Investor Relations Manager, Julia communicates with investors to facilitate a smooth round and legal part of each transaction.
In her free time Julia enjoys sailing, ballroom dancing, art exhibitions and travel.