Law firms make up 10 per cent of Stonewall top 100

Ten law firms have made it into the top 100 of this year’s LGBT charity Stonewall’s audit of the most gay-friendly employers.

The increase from eight law firms making it into the ranking last year (16 January 2013), and seven in 2012 (11 January 2012), indicates a consistent improvement in the sector’s approach to equality.

Simmons & Simmons was top of the ranking for the legal sector and eighth overall. It is the sixth consecutive year at the top of the table for the firm, and is again the highest position achieved by a firm, according to Stonewall.

Baker & McKenzie stayed in second place at position 19 overall, followed by CMS Cameron McKenna, which leapt from 62 to joint thirtieth position with Herbert Smith Freehills.

Most of the ten firms on the list have improved or maintained their rankings this year, with the exception of Pinsent Masons who dropped significantly from 22 to joint forty-fifth position with Eversheds.

However a drop in this year’s table may not signal a significant decrease in standards as the qualifying score to get into the top 100 from rose from 137 in 2013 to 148 this year.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Norton Rose Fulbright were at joint sixty-sixth position overall and ninth and tenth out of the law firms, but did not feature in the table last year.

Simmons partner and co-chair of the firm’s LGBT network David Stone said: “We are a founding member of the global diversity champions along with IBM, Google, City, Thompson Reuters, BP, Freshfields, Proctor & Gamble, RBS and Barclays and that is about taking the good work done in the UK and spreading it around the world.”

CMS capital markets partner Daniel Winterfeldt founded the InterLaw Diversity Forum in February 2008 and said: “This year we see ten law firms in the top 100 employers, when we had none just over five years ago, and we have seen the legal sector move as a group from one of the poorest performers to the middle of the pack during that same period.”

The firm’s managing director Penelope Warne said: “We are delighted to see our ranking jump 32 places to number 30 in the top 100 employers this year. With diversity and inclusion being an increasing area of focus for our clients, as well as supporting our business strategy of creating an inclusive environment to recruit, retain and advance the best talent, this is welcome recognition for our hard work across the firm.” 

Baker & McKenzie London managing partner Paul Rawlinson said: “Collaboration, diversity and inclusion have always been at the heart of Baker & McKenzie’s culture and our continued prominent Workplace Equality Index ranking reflects our commitment to those values. We are delighted with the ranking, which is also testament to the great work being done by our BakerLGBT employee network.”

Housing company Gentoo topped the list overall, with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust coming in second and the Co-operative third. A total of 369 employers submitted entries to the ranking. The full results will be announced this evening.