Firms fail to meet DCA diversity deadline

Less than a fifth of the top 100 law firms have complied with Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) demands that they publish diversity data on their websites.

Most non-compliant firms interviewed by The Lawyer said they are preparing to make their data available, but Taylor Wessing director of HR Jonathan Croucher reflected the thoughts of many, saying: “We’re not great believers that publishing monitoring statistics is the highest-impact approach to promoting diversity.”

As first reported by The Lawyer (13 February), Bridget Prentice MP, Parliamentary Secretary for the DCA, wrote to the top 100 law firms asking them to make statistics relating to the demographic make-up of their lawyers available by 31 March.

Research by the DCA showed that only 19 firms had published the statistics on their websites in time.

Meanwhile, in a speech last week, Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, questioned the motives of firms which have diversity statements on their websites but no data.

“Are [the diversity statements] there to tick the diversity box, or to woo ethnic minority recruits and global clients?” he said.

Prentice has contacted firms asking if they intend to publish their data, setting a new deadline of 31 May. She has also written to the next 100 firms asking them to follow suit.

The 19 firms that met the 31 March deadline are: Allen & Overy, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Bircham Dyson Bell, Charles Russell, Clifford ChanceCMS Cameron McKenna, Cripps Harries Hall, DMH Stallard, Eversheds, Field Fisher Waterhouse, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith, Lawrence Graham, Norton Rose, Olswang, Slaughter and May, Trowers & Hamlins, Ward Hadaway and Weightmans.