Simmons & Simmons, Clifford Chance and diversity

Never before have law firms been so attuned to the subject of diversity.

Allen & Overy has introduced part-time working for equity partners (see story), Herbert Smith has just established a multiculturalism network (see story) and four firms have made it into the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index for the first time (see story).

Nevertheless, exclusive research carried out by The Lawyer, The Law Society and the InterLaw Diversity Forum for LGBT networks – and published today in The Lawyer Diversity Report 2010 – finds that there is still a long way to go before the law can be considered an inclusive and fair profession.

Some of the firms that blazed a trail on senior female partners back in the 1990s, such as Simmons & Simmons, have seen their female representation drop off a cliff in recent years (see story).

In fact the Diversity Report finds that only five of the top 30 have a female senior or managing partner at all. Clifford Chance has said it wants to double female partner representation to 30 per cent, what better place to start then than by electing M&A superstar Daniela Weber-Rey to the senior partner post, which is currently up for grabs? (see story)

Elsewhere in the Report there’s shocking revelations that some black and minority ethnic (BME) lawyers are working for free (see story), that a fifth of all LGBT lawyers are discriminated against at work, and, as far as social background is concerned, if your name’s not David (or Sarah) your not coming in.

Check it all out in The Lawyer Diversity Report 2010.