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Shoosmiths and Fladgate Fielder have finished top of the first-ever league table of diversity in the UK's top 100 law firms, The Lawyer can reveal.
City firms lag far behind, with Clifford Chance highest in ninth place due to an exceptional proportion of associates and trainees from ethnic minorities (Asian, black and mixed), although its proportion of female lawyers is poor.
Clifford Chance senior partner Stuart Popham said: "There's still much work to be done within the profession."
Shoosmiths' lofty position is due to its high proportion of female employees, while Fladgates has the highest percentage of partners from ethnic minorities.
The groundbreaking survey is the first of its kind and has been conducted by the Law Society on behalf of the Black Solicitors Network and the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).
Chairman of the CRE Trevor Phillips said: "This report confirms our suspicions that there's institutional complacency in the legal profession when it comes to racial equality. Without signs of improvement, the legal services are inviting government to consider tougher legislation and force it to do better."