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UK’s LGBT-friendly Legal Firms

by Sellick Partnership | 17 June 2019

Are you a legal professional looking for your next career move? There are a lot of elements to consider when searching for a new job within the legal sector, and company culture, including policies on diversity and inclusivity, is usually high on that list. To help you determine which job opportunities to go for, our Legal recruitment team has compiled the top LGBT-friendly companies in the UK. So, whether you are looking for a position as a lawyer or solicitor, typist or manager, you can start your job hunt today without having to compromise on your priorities.

To stand out to job seekers, many law firms are now committed to demonstrating their policies on supporting inclusivity and diversity among their employees. This is particularly important in recent years, as increasing numbers of legal professionals are actively seeking out LGBT-friendly organisations when considering their next career move.

Helpfully for job seekers, at the start of 2019, campaign and advocacy charity Stonewall released its annual report detailing the top 100 most LGBT inclusive employers in the UK, of which 16 companies are from the legal sector.

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, said: “Changing things for the better needs us all to work together – across workplaces, across sectors, across communities – and using tools like the Workplace Equality Index helps systematically achieve sustainable change. Collectively, we can, and will, build a world where all LGBT people are accepted without exception.”

Each law firm on the list was assessed on ten key areas including community engagement, policies and benefits, procurement and the employee lifecycle. Read on to discover more about the top ten law firms and their policies.

1. Pinsent Masons

#1 on the Top 100

After securing the number two spot in 2017 and 2018, Pinsent Masons finally reached number one in 2019. Last year, it played a pivotal role in setting up an employers’ group, ‘Businesses for Love Equality’ in Northern Ireland, which released a statement in September 2018 in support of the extension of equal marriage.

Richard Foley, Senior Partner at Pinsent Masons, said:

"It isn’t about reaching the top spot; it’s about what the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index stands for and what everyone engaged in it is working so hard to accomplish. Pinsent Masons has created an inclusive workplace that enables everyone to be themselves; from our recruitment processes through to our engagement with clients.

You can find out more about the firm’s LGBT policies here.

2. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

#2 on the Top 100

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) is an international law firm with 25 offices around the world. Headquartered in St. Louis, it holds three offices in the UK, located in Manchester, London and Southampton.

Segun Osuntokun, Managing Partner of BCLP’s London office, said:

“As the first global law firm with two female co-chairs, we are deeply committed to taking a strong, visible and authentic stance on equality and inclusion. We have seen first-hand that supporting and promoting an environment of inclusivity and respect on the ground, every day, has a direct positive impact on our workforce, clients and our wider communities.”  

Discover more about BCLP's commitment to diversity by following this link.

3. Baker McKenzie

#10 on the Top 100

Operating in 46 countries with over 1,500 partners, Baker McKenzie has a bold inclusion policy that focuses on ethnic and cultural diversity, gender diversity as well as LGBT diversity.

Commenting on its top ten placement on the Stonewall report, Paul Rawlinson, Global Chair of Baker McKenzie, said:

“Through our Global LGBT+ Business Resource Group, engaged Senior LGBT+ Champions and a growing network of in-country LGBT+ and Ally Chapters, we are making strides in creating an inclusive environment for all, where everyone feels free to be who they are, wherever they are.”

Read more about Baker McKenzie’s diversity and inclusion policies.

4. Dentons UK and Middle East LLP

#15 on the Top 100

The world’s largest law firm, Dentons UK and Middle East LLP (Dentons), offers services within a range of sectors, including energy, transport and infrastructure, financial institutions and funds, technology, and real estate. In 2018, some of its initiatives included a 'LGBT and Faith' panel event, mentoring other law firms on how to be more LGBT+ inclusive, and the launch of Dentons' global Pride Day.

Nick Mott, UK Diversity and Inclusion Partner at Dentons, said,

"We are delighted to have earned our highest ever ranking in this national index highlighting Dentons' commitment to LGBT+ inclusivity and visibility, both in the workplace and the wider community. We strongly believe that Dentons' dedication to diversity and inclusion contributes to the success of our business, and this ranking is a testament to the hard work of so many people across our firm."

If you are interested in a career at Dentons, find out about its diversity and inclusion policies here.

5. Travers Smith

#25 on the Top 100

London’s Travers Smith was established in 1851 and specialises in 17 practice areas including finance, employment, corporate finance, pensions and real estate. In 2018, as part of its LGBT policies, it introduced a Pride-themed Travers Smith web logo, a first for a City law firm, and created a ‘rainbow staircase’ in its office building.

Daniel Gerring, Head of Pensions and Chair of the Travers Smith LGBT+ network, said:

“Our inclusion this year in the top 25 is a reflection of our commitment to playing a leadership role, not only in the business world but also within wider society. I am especially proud of what we achieved this year in supporting not only our own LGBT+ people and their allies, but also other LGBT+ communities across the UK and beyond.”

Read up on Travers Smith’s commitment to inclusion.

6. Norton Rose Fulbright LLP

#32 on the Top 100

With over 4,000 lawyers and staff in countries around the world, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP is a full-service business law firm for corporations and financial institutions. In addition to placing 32 overall, Stonewall also awarded the firm’s Pride network the Highly Commended Network Group for the third consecutive year.

Farmida Bi, Chair of Europe, Middle East and Asia at Norton Rose Fulbright, said:

“We are extremely proud to be included in this list for the sixth consecutive year. The ranking continues to be a testament to the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”

Find out more about Norton Rose Fulbright’s commitment to diversity and inclusion here.

7. Hogan Lovells International LLP

#34 on the Top 100

International firm Hogan Lovells International LLP (Hogan Lovells) is the ninth largest law firm in the world by global revenue, and advises 50 of the Fortune 100 and 34 of the FTSE 100. In 2018, it launched its Gender Transitioning in the Workplace Policy for the UK, which set out guidelines for transitioning employees and their colleagues.

Ruth Grant, Partner and Chair of Hogan Lovells Global Diversity & Inclusion Committee, said:

"To receive industry recognition for our efforts is hugely encouraging and is incredibly rewarding for our UK Pride network and our new global Pride+ network. As a global law firm, our goal is to reflect in our culture the diversity of our communities and our clients. This is key to the growth and success of our people and our business.”

You can discover more about the organisation’s diversity and inclusion policies here.

8. Allen & Overy

Joint #37 on the Top 100

With 5,500 employees, Allen & Overy has 44 offices in over 30 countries around the world. A&Out is the firm’s global network for its LGBT+ community, with over 100 members and 700 allies across the world.

Wim Dejonghe, Senior Partner of Allen & Overy, said:

"LGBT+ inclusion has been a focus of ours for some time and our ranking this year is testament to the dedication of our people in keeping it at the top of the agenda and maintaining progress. In the last year this has included a focus on trans matters in particular, in addition to our existing LGBT+ initiatives, working to reinforce our supportive and inclusive environment for all our trans and non-binary colleagues."

You can discover more about the organisation’s diversity and inclusion policies.

=8. Taylor Wessing

Joint #37 on the Top 100

Full-service international law firm Taylor Wessing ran several diversity and inclusion initiatives in 2018 in order to earn its place on the Stonewall top 100. These included promoting its Transitioning at Work policy and reviewing its parental policies to ensure they are LGBT friendly.

Managing Partner, Shane Gleghorn, said:

"We are committed to ensuring that our working environment is a place where people can be themselves and allows talent to flourish. Making the Stonewall Top 100 Employers list, and rising 14 places this year, is a credit to every one of our people whose individualism and hard work shows how inclusive our firm really is."

You can discover more about the organisation’s diversity and inclusion policies.

=8. Clifford Chance

Joint #37 on the Top 100

In February 2018, Clifford Chance became an early adopter of the UN’s new business standards aimed at supporting fair and equal treatment of LGBT+ people across the world. The firm also runs an LGBT+ diversity network, Arcus, that hosts Pride exhibitions in cities as widespread as London, New York, Paris and Tokyo.

Visit the firm’s website to discover more about its diversity and inclusion policies.

Get in touch

With in-depth sector knowledge and an extensive network of clients, Sellick Partnership is ideally placed to help you find the right organisation for your next career move. If you are ready to discover your next Legal role, visit our dedicated jobs page or contact us today.