Law firm Magic Circle Freshfields is the latest City institution to investigate its historical links 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 investigating its links to the transatlantic slave trade after previously expressing “regret” over its founder’s involvement.
James William Freshfield, a founding partner, benefited financially by acting as a trustee for clients in deals involving slave plantations.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, founded in 1743, is investigating whether there are other connections to slavery, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
“We deeply regret any of the company’s historical connections to the inhumane institution of slavery,” a spokesperson said.
Investigation: The 280-year-old law firm is reportedly investigating its ties to the transatlantic slave trade.
‘We are working to understand our history so that we can recognize and learn from it, in addition to the independent historical research we are funding into the role of the City of London and its ecosystem in relation to the transatlantic slave trade.
“We are committed to making significant progress in creating a sustainable, diverse and inclusive workplace and having a positive impact on society.”
It comes as City businesses face increasing pressure to address their historical links to the slave trade.
Lloyd’s of London announced last week it would invest £52m in racial equality projects after a report revealed its “central role” in the slave trade. But the insurance market has not yielded to calls to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves.