Pinsents: only law firm in top 100 gay-friendly table

Pinsent Masons is the most gay-friendly law firm in the UK, a survey by gay rights group Stonewall has found.

Pinsent Masons

is the most gay-friendly law firm in the UK, a survey by gay rights group Stonewall has found.

Pinsents came 67th of the UK’s 100 most gay-friendly employers, Stonewall concluded in its 2008 Workplace Equality Index, in which 240 organisations were scored by their gay or lesbian employees.

Scoring criteria included implementation of equality policies, the demonstration of good practice in recruitment and mentoring, and engagement with gay staff.

Pinsents HR director Jonathan Bond said: “We feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment that we’re the first law firm to be recognised as one of the top 100 gay-friendly employers.”

Pinsents also claimed the ‘Most Improved’ award, which recognises the progress the firm has made in pursuing greater inclusivity in 2007.

The firm is one of 18 law firms signed up to Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, a good-practice forum in which employers can work with Stonewall and other members to promote gay equality in the workplace.

“We wouldn’t have been able to come this far without the support provided by Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme,” Bond said.

Other organisations to join the programme recently include Allen & Overy.

Pinsents property head Adrian Barlow, a member of the firm’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group, said the firm’s achievement “is a cultural thing, not just [the result of] a few people trying hard”.

He added that inclusivity makes business sense for firms. “The legal sector has historically been very conservative and been very concerned about making choices that could alienate clients that don’t agree with them,” he said. “But the sector has become a victim of its own conservativeness. The public has changed its thinking, and captains of industry are no longer prepared to work with people who don’t share the values of their organisations.”

Pinsents was the only law firm to reach the 100, but the sector has made improvements on last year’s results, increasing its average score by almost 15 per cent.

National crime reduction charity Nacro is Stonewall’s most gay-friendly employer.