30 Jan 2020

Law firms excel in diversity rankings across the US, the UK and Australia

Pinsent Masons is top firm in UK LGBT index as 134 Am Law 200 firms score maximum points in US ranking

Around 1.5m people descend onto the streets of London to attend Pride In London 2019 Shutterstock

Law firms across the US, the UK and Australia have secured a disproportionately high representation in national league tables of the best diversity employers. In the UK, fourteen law firms appear in LGBT campaign group Stonewall’s annual Workplace Equality Index of the UK’s 100 most inclusive employers, which is published today, making law the second-most ranked sector after education.

In the US, 130 of the 164 Am Law 200 law firms which took part in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's latest Corporate Equality Index earned perfect scores, putting the grouping ahead of the Fortune 500.

And in Australia, four law firms appeared in a ranking of the country’s 35 most inclusive lawyers produced by the Diversity Council of Australia (DCA). 

All three rankings rely on the voluntary participation of employers. Stonewall said a record 503 employers took part in a process that measures best practice to promote LGBT inclusion covering areas including policies and benefits, employee network groups and monitoring.

The top performing UK firm was Pinsent Masons – last year’s employer of the year – which came in at fourth. Stonewall praised the firm for ‘thoroughly monitoring the sexual orientation and gender identity of their applicants and staff, and analysing that data to identify areas for improvement when it comes to inclusion’. 

Welcoming his firm’s ranking as a “special achievement”, Pinsent Masons senior partner Richard Foley said the firm’s work to promote diversity and inclusion in the wider community was an important part of the equation. 

"Supporting initiatives such as the campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland play an important role in prompting progress on the equality issues that we believe must be addressed," he said. 

Also singled out for praise was Allen & Overy (22), which Stonewall said had been ‘very successful in encouraging employees to step up as allies, with more than 700 registered allies globally'. 

The other ranked UK firms were: Baker McKenzie and Travers Smith (12=), Slaughter and May (15), Hogan Lovells (17=), Clifford Chance (19), DWF (30=), Eversheds Sutherland (35=), Taylor Wessing (51=), Linklaters (62=), Mayer Brown (64=), Leigh Day (55=), and Irwin Mitchell (74=).

The four firms recognised it the Diversity Council of Australia’s. Inclusion@YourWork Index, which uses a similar methodology but is unranked, are Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills tax advisers and Sparke Helmore Lawyers.

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