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Browne Jacobson appoints Shelley Sutton as People Director

01 May 2024

UK & Ireland law firm Browne Jacobson has appointed Shelley Sutton as the firm’s new People Director. The appointment takes effect from 1 May 2024.

Shelley takes over the role from Declan Vaughan, who will be retiring from the firm in July 2024. Declan joined the firm in 2017 and has held the role for six years from May 2018.

Shelley joined Browne Jacobson in 2019 as a HR Business Partner and was promoted to Head of Business Partnering in January 2021. 

In her new role, Shelley will be leading the firm’s people and culture strategies, working with the firm’s HR, L&D and knowledge teams to support the build of Browne Jacobson’s organisational capability and capacity.

During Declan’s tenure as People Director, Browne Jacobson implemented various initiatives including revolutionising its recruitment processes by removing academic barriers, anonymising applications and focusing its outreach work on social mobility ‘cold spots’. In 2021, the firm launched FAIRE (Fairer Access into Real Experience) – a unique programme offering in-person and virtual work experience opportunities to candidates specifically from lower socio-economic backgrounds. 

Earlier this year and following a two-year pilot, Browne Jacobson launched REACH (Race, Equality and Cultural Heritage), a dedicated mentoring programme aimed at kick-starting the careers of aspiring black lawyers across the country to grow, nurture, and create a sustainable pipeline of future black talent. 

Shelley Sutton, People Director at Browne Jacobson, said: “I’m delighted to be appointed as the firm’s People Director. The work which Declan has overseen has created fantastic development opportunities for our people and opened the doors to those for whom a legal career seemed impossible. I’m excited to ensure our people strategy is continually developing, supporting the firm’s performance and growth ambitions for the benefit of all.”

Richard Medd, Managing Partner at Browne Jacobson, said: “Over the last five years, Shelley has continually proved to be a real asset in our HR leadership team and we’re looking forward to seeing what she’ll achieve in her new role as the firm’s People Director. I’d also like to express my sincere thanks to Declan for his hard work in driving real change for the firm in his tenure. 

We’re proud of being one of the leading law firms for social mobility, but we’re conscious that there is so much more that needs to be done to create true equity for all. Under Shelley’s leadership, I have no doubt that each member of the firm will continue to play their part in creating an inclusive and equitable workplace in which everyone can thrive.” 

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