Magic Circle law firm Freshfields is the latest City institution to investigate its historical ties to slavery after Lloyd’s of London last week announced a £52m investment in racial equality projects.
The 280-year-old law firm is reportedly researching its links to the transatlantic slave trade after previously expressing ‘regret’ over its founder’s involvement.
James William Freshfield, a founding partner, financially benefited from serving as a trustee for clients in deals involving slave plantations.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which was founded in 1743, is looking into whether there are any further connections to slavery, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
‘We deeply regret any of the firm’s historic connections with the inhumane institution of slavery,’ a spokesman said.
Probe: The 280-year-old law firm is reportedly researching its links to the transatlantic slave trade
‘We are working to understand our history so that we can acknowledge and learn from it, in addition to the independent historical research we are funding on the role of the City of London and its ecosystem in relation to the transatlantic slave trade.
‘We are committed to making meaningful progress to create a sustainable, diverse and inclusiveworkplace and to having a positive impact on society.’
It comes as City firms face mounting pressure to address their historical links to the slave trade.
Lloyd’s of London last week announced it would invest £52m in racial equality projects after a report uncovered its ‘central role’ in the slave trade. But the insurance market has not given into calls to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves.