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15 July 2020

Clifford Chance pledges at least 40 per cent of its global partners will be women by 2030

UK magic circle firm also sets first LGBT+ and ethnicity targets as it ramps up inclusivity drive

By Ben Edwards

Clifford Chance's headquarters

Clifford Chance's London headquarters Shutterstock

Clifford Chance has set out new gender, ethnicity and LGBT+ targets to improve the diversity of its workforce over the next decade.

The firm says it wants to ensure at least 40% of global partners are women by 2030, requiring it to double its current tally for women partners of 20%. 

In addition to its gender targets, the firm has introduced its first LGBT target for global partners, aiming to reach 3% by 2025. It has also committed to minority ethnic targets in the UK and the US, aiming for 15% of new partners and 30% of senior associates and business professionals by 2025.

Demographics published by the firm in January show that currently 2.7% of the firm’s UK partners are LGB and 7.5% are from an ethnic minority.

The gender target represents an increase CC’s previous commitment to achieve 30% of women partners, which did not carry a timeframe.

The firm is pursuing different goals regionally to hit that target. 

In APAC and the UK, the firm will need to increase the proportion of women partners by 60% to meet the 2030 target, while in the Americas and mainland Europe, the firm’s goal is to double the proportion of women partners over the next 10 years. The 40% target will also apply to all other positions across the firm.

Matthew Layton, Clifford Chance’s global managing partner, said: “Creating an inclusive environment is at the heart of our Clifford Chance values, and is good for our industry, our firm, our colleagues and our clients. While we are making progress, and are proud of doing so, I recognise that today, inclusion and equality of opportunity isn't the lived experience for many of our people and we have to do much better.”

He added: “To make the change that our people, our clients and society expect from us, we need to be actively campaigning and forging positive, inclusive environments which are enriched by the diversity of our people.”

Laura King, a partner and global head of people and talent at Clifford Chance, said: “The targets announced today are a step forward, but not a complete solution. Talking about numbers is the easy part; we now need to deliver on the actions which will enable inclusive teams to thrive.”

She added: “We are committed to breaking down the barriers that are restricting recruitment, progress and retention and believe we will be a stronger firm if we can attract the best people from the widest talent pools by delivering an equality of opportunity and advancement for all.”

Earlier this month, Clifford Chance was one of 17 leading UK firms to sign up to a Race Fairness Commitment which commits them to measuring their efforts to stamp out institutional racism and encourages them to make the data public.

This month Baker McKenzie also set up a task force to improve racial and ethnic diversity across the firm’s 77 offices having set a target in June last year for it to achieve a representative split of 40% women, 40% men and 20% flexible (women, men or non-binary persons) for partners, senior business professionals, firm committee leadership and candidate pools for recruitment by 1 July 2025.

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