Simmons named Stonewall’s top gay friendly law firm

Daniel Winterfeldt

The firm has made it into 15th place in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers List 2010 – up on its position last year when it came in at 31st.

The firm’s corporate securities partner and founder of the InterLaw Diversity Forum for LGBT Networks Daniel Winterfeldt said that changes in the firm’s diversity training and supplier diversity programme may partly explain the improved ranking.

“We have two levels of training, one for managers and one for the rest of the firm. It’s a requirement that everybody participates and it cuts across all areas of diversity, with LGBT-specific areas,” he said.

Three other firms made it into the top 100. They are Pinsent Masons, in 36th place, Herbert Smith, in 56th place, and Eversheds, in 85th place. All of them raised their position on the previous year.

However, no other firms made it into the top 100, which is dominated by police forces, local authorities and financial institutions, with  IBM bagging the number one place.

Every organisation in the 2010 Top 100 offers diversity training that includes lesbian, gay and bisexual issues and collects monitoring data on the sexual orientation of their employees.

Firms like Simmons and Herbert Smith have also taken moves to access LGBT students as part of their recruitment initiatives. Winterfeldt said: “It’s about recruiting the best talent possible by casting the net widely.”

In a statement Stonewall noted that while it only publishes the top 100 employers, a total of 352 employers submitted data, including a total of 24 law firms. The requirements for making it into the top 100 have also become more stringent.

Employers self-select to participate in the ranking and have to complete an online survey on policy and practice, backed up by supplementary evidence. In addition staff are invited to complete anonymous questionnaires. The information is independently audited.