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‘A real achievement’: Pinsent Masons tops Stonewall rankings for LGBT inclusive law firms

UK top 20 firm Pinsent Masons is the top law shop, and fifth best overall UK employer for LGBT staff according to Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.

The charity’s Top 100 Employers list ranks the best employers for lesbian, gay, bi and transgender staff compiled from submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, a benchmarking tool used by employers to create inclusive workplaces. The index tracks equality in the workplace including policy, staff engagement and career development.

In the top ten law firm rankings (see full list below), Pinsents climbed two places from last year, beating new entrant Clifford Chance which came second and Baker & McKenzie which fell to third place after holding the number one spot last year.

As well as being the second best law firm, Clifford Chance was ranked ninth best employer overall, making it the highest ranked new entry out of the 100 organisations listed. The only other Magic Circle firm to feature in the list was Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which at 17th on the full list, was the fourth placed law firm. Others rounding out the top ten for law firms included Norton Rose Fulbright, Herbert Smith Freehills, DWF, Hogan Lovells, Reed Smith and CMS Cameron McKenna.

Simmons & Simmons has already graduated from the top 100, having consistently made the top ten, and as a Stonewall Star Practitioner the firm models best practice and mentors lower performing organisations.

Pinsents diversity steering group chair David Issac said the award was a ‘real achievement’, and followed a recent programme called straight allies, ‘for those who are not LGBT but who support us personally and the business case for being yourself at work.’

Issac added: ‘I was very keen that we as a law firm should set the lead in the legal sector, we’ve been in the index for nine years – it’s just recognition of the commitment we have made.’

Baker & McKenzie’s senior inclusion and diversity manager Justine Thompson was named Ally of the Year 2016, an award for individuals who have demonstrated unwavering commitment to creating an LGBT inclusive workplace. The firm was also named in Stonewall’s global employers list.

Paul Rawlinson, Bakers’ London managing partner said: ‘Justine works tirelessly to promote and support all of our diversity initiatives which, as a result of her involvement, are some of the most highly regarded in the industry. Her boundless energy, commitment and enthusiasm inspires people across the firm and I’m delighted that Stonewall has recognised her hard work.’

Stonewall senior account manager Kris Phelps said the legal sector is leading by example in progressing LGBT diversity and inclusion.

He added: ‘Ten years ago when the index was launched no law firms featured in the top 100. It’s hugely exciting to see so many firms taking the steps to ensure that their employees can be themselves in the workplace.’

Top ten firms and their overall rankings

1. Pinsent Masons – 5

2. Clifford Chance – 9

3. Baker & McKenzie – 11

4. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer – 17

5. Norton Rose Fulbright – 22

6. Herbert Smith Freehills – 25

7. DWF – 56

8. Hogan Lovells – 57

9. Reed Smith – 72

10. CMS Cameron McKenna – 80