37 BACK TO NAVIGATION 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 17 18 19 20 National Reconciliation Week activities NAIDOC Week activities Cultural awareness training Reconciliation Action Plan Procurement Probono Scholarships and Student mentoring Secondment Employment Program 0 2 4 6 8 Reflect Innovate Stretch Elevate part in NAIDOC week activities this year taking the participation to sixty-one percent of firms. Fifty-two percent of active firms participated in National Reconciliation Week activities and also provided indigenous cultural awareness training. While there is a high level of participation in these programs by firms that are implementing Reconciliation Action plans, many other law firms are still showing their commitments through a focus on specific programs and initiatives. Other support for first Australians also includes; providing legal pro bono programs, employment and training programs, staff secondments to aboriginal corporations and indigenous procurement programs. Challenges and Opportunities Next year the ‘Closing the Gap’ initiative will be half way through the 22-year timeline set by governments to achieve progress for basic equality for first Australians. Unfortunately, the most recent ‘Closing the Gap’ reports show that progress on most of their important targets are not on track to be met in the majority of Australian states. This suggests the current strategies to increase the inclusion and equality of opportunity are failing or at least are insufficient. Participation in business and employment is a key element that drives sustainable self-sufficiency in many indigenous families and communities. Indigenous people like many minority groups, are underrepresented in the legal profession and its supply chain. The National Profile of Solicitors 2016 Report, conducted by the NSW Law Society found that only 1.2% of the profession nationally identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander despite being 3.3% of the population. Law firms’ investments in nurturing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal talent can be improved to provide more attractive opportunities for first Australian Lawyers. Deeper more immersive programs that include more continuous and progressive pathways including; scholarships, vacation placements, internships, clerkships, graduate programs and Lawyer development programs, will lead to higher levels of engagement by participants. There is also opportunity to improve the recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders for firm internships and other programs by staggering their program scheduling outside the peak recruitment times.Promoting for these intakes should also be reviewed to ensure that they are effectively reaching indigenous students. Increasingly indigenous businesses are providing supplier diversity through competitive goods and services that are used by law firms and other businesses. But for these businesses to grow and to increase their range of products and services further they need the increased demand and support from businesses like law firms. Supply Nation is the leading directory for indigenous businesses and is endorsed by the Australian Government. Reconciliation Action Plans have a positive effect in workplaces and improve a firm’s chances of achieving the objectives of: respect, relationships and opportunities and implementing and measuring practical actions. While RAPs could spread some smaller law firms too thin, these firms should still identify the best opportunities to contribute to reconciliation that that align with their skills and capacities and with a focus on impact While having plans and policies is an important part of the challenge, strong leadership, commitment, and transparency are more important to changing established beliefs, behaviors and outcomes. In businesses this requires deeper engagement with leadership, employees, stakeholders and more meaningful connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. One-to-many types of engagement events are common in many law firms but can be superficial if they are not part of a deeper set of engagements. INITIATIVES RAP LEVEL Number of firms Number of firms