Simmons leads as law firms improve position in Stonewall rankings

Simmons & Simmons has consolidated its position in LGB charity Stonewall’s annual rankings of the most gay-friendly employers, improving from 10th place in 2012 to ninth this year.

David Stone
David Stone

The firm is once again the top-ranked law firm in the ranking of the best 100 employers, which is compiled using a list of key indicators including a survey of lesbian, gay and bisexual employees. Simmons’ ranking is the highest-ever position achieved by a law firm, according to Stonewall.

In total there are eight law firms in the top 100 this year, an increase of one from 2012 (11 January 2012). CMS is the new entrant at 62.

The majority of other firms on the list have also improved or maintained their placings this year. Baker & McKenzie is the second-highest ranked law firm at 19, while Pinsent Masons has soared into the top 30, moving up from position 41 in 2012 to 22.

Herbert Smith Freehills also jumped into the top 30, rising 50 places from 80th position last year. Hogan Lovells was up from 62 to 40 and Eversheds up from 73 to 52.

Only Irwin Mitchell saw a drop in its position, falling from 33rd place in 2012 to 72 this year.

Simmons partner and co-chair of the firm’s LGBT network David Stone said: “It’s a tribute to improvements for the LGBT community in the legal profession that law firms continue to rank well in Stonewall’s index. We hope to see future rankings for other branches of the profession, such as barristers, legal executives, patent and trademark attorneys and notaries public.”

Bakers London managing partner Gary Senior said the firm’s ranking was a result of the “outstanding contribution” of the BakerLGBT employee network. The firm pointed to the launch of a support group, BakerAllies, which encourages non-LGBT employees to become involved in LGBT-related issues, last year, as an example of its efforts in this area of diversity.

A spokesperson for Irwin Mitchell said: “While we are still one of the leading firms in this important area, we are of course disappointed to have slipped slightly from such a strong position previously, though it is good overall to see that the standard and engagement is rising. The need for all firms to do more to gain recognition and maintain their progress is only a healthy development. Like others, we need to do more and our commitment remains just as strong to improving our position still further and working with Stonewall to help us do this.”

Accenture topped the list overall, with housing company Gentoo second and the Co-operative third. A total of 376 employers submitted entries to the ranking and this year’s standings include 19 new employers. The full results will be announced this evening.