Shoosmiths usurps Linklaters as most diverse firm

Shoosmiths has knocked Linklaters off of the top spot in this year’s Black Solicitors Network’s Diversity League Table (DLT).

Linklaters came first in the overall diversity league table last year, followed by Baker & McKenzie and Norton Rose. This year Linklaters comes in at number two with third place going to O’Melveny & Myers. Shoosmiths topped the first DLT in 2006.

Now in its sixth year the DLT, which is sponsored by The Law Society, is an annual analysis of ethnicity and gender diversity in legal firms and chambers across different levels of practice, as well as the representation of disabled and lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) employees in firms.       

Shoosmiths scored an overall diversity quotient of 898 out of a possible 1,000. Fifty per cent of this quotient score reflects the rankings in six demographic league tables, which are created for gender and ethnic diversity at the different levels of practice: partners, associates and trainees. Shoosmiths scored 438 in this section.

The other 50 per cent is calculated from firms’ responses to questions that cover the following five areas of diversity policy and practice: monitoring, leadership and internal policy/strategy, external ‘face’, staff development and support, and recruitment, promotion and retention. Shoosmiths scored 460 for its responses.

Linklaters scored a total diversity quotient of 812, while O’Melveny & Myers achieved 802. Ward Hadaway crawled in at the bottom of the overall diversity league table with a quotient of 501.

The statistics reveal that new entrant to the DLT Withers has the highest proportion of female partners with 41.94 per cent. Pannone retains its spot in second place with 41.67 per cent. US firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton comes in last, with 4.76 per cent.

Withers takes the bottom spot in the ethnic minority partners table with zero. O’Melveny & Myers once again takes the top spot with 28.57 per cent, followed by Arnold & Porter with 11.76 per cent.

Dewey & LeBoeuf came top of the table for LGB employees with 4.63 per cent, an increase on the 3.5 per cent reported by the firm last year. Withers comes in second place with 4.26 per cent. Seventeen firms reported no LGB employees, which may be down to the fact that some employees choose not to disclose their sexual orientation.

O’Melveny & Myers reported the highest proportion of disabled employees with 6.67 per cent followed by Arnold & Porter with 4.88 per cent. Eleven firms reported no disabled employees.

Forty four firms in total volunteered to participate in the DLT. This figure includes 13 international firms, 26 UK top 100 firms and six of the City 10 firms. All of the firms invited to participate have annual turnovers in excess of £10m. Eighteen chambers agreed to take part.

This year’s DLT saw the average size of firms in the sample decrease. Last year the average firm had 470 fee earners and this year the figure is 436. This average hides a lot of variation, with the smallest firms having 30 fee earners, whilst the largest has 1,270.

The full report is available here.