This year’s diversity gongs go to O’Melveny & Myers and Coram Chambers, which top the tables for law firms and barristers’ sets respectively when ranked by their proportion of partners or tenants from ethnic minorities.
But the real news is the number of chambers that failed to fill in the form. Only 23 sets out of 180 invited by the Black Solicitors Network to submit their figures actually did so, or about 13 per cent of them. The form was admittedly fairly long, so maybe they’re excused, but it does little to battle the bar’s reputation - unfair it may be - for stuffiness, lack of transparency and cultural homogeneity.
Law firms performed better in the ethnic minority rankings at the very top, with O’Melveny on top in the City with a third of its partners coming from a black or mixed race background, followed by Simmons & Simmons on 18 per cent, Cleary Gottlieb on 13 per cent and White & Case on 12.5 per cent. The numbers point to the strength of the US firms in London over their UK-headquartered rivals - and this in a week in which the chair-designate of merged Dentons has vowed to make the US-European-Canadian megafirm the world’s most multi-cultural.
On the bar side, Coram’s 22.7 per cent figure for ethnic minorities was closely followed by Tooks Chambers on 18 per cent and 25 Bedford Row on 16 per cent. You can see more details of firms’ and sets’ diversity data from the survey - including on female partners and for associates and trainees - in today’s stories here and here.
And read female lawyers’ reactions to the numbers here.