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Nine City law firms named top employers for women

Nine law firms have been recognised for their actions to improve gender equality on The Times Top 50 Employers for Women.

The list, which is compiled by charity Business in the Community, celebrates the organisations that can demonstrate best practice, impact and innovation in paving the way for gender equality in the workplace.

Applicants for the 2021 list were assessed on a range of areas including their approach to recruitment, flexible working and family friendly policies, as well as how they have championed gender equality during the pandemic.

The law firms that made it on to the list are:

  • Addleshaw Goddard
  • Allen & Overy
  • Burges Salmon
  • CMS
  • DWF
  • Eversheds Sutherland
  • Linklaters
  • Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Pinsent Masons

CMS is on the list for the sixth year running. Senior partner Penelope Warne said: “Gender equality and women’s careers are central to our culture in supporting all diversity and all careers. Supporting women’s careers is very important to our firm and we are very pleased that our commitment to support women’s careers during a particularly challenging year have been recognised.”

DWF, which made it onto the list for the second consecutive year, will have its work to improve gender quality recognised in a related report that will be released by Business in the Community next week.

It held roundtable discussions and listening sessions to identify the barriers to recruitment and progression for women within the firm, which resulted in the launch of initiatives including an ethnic minority access scheme for aspiring lawyers and a reverse mentoring programme.

“It is fantastic to have achieved this ranking for the second year running. In a year like no other, we have ensured that building gender balance and equality in our workplace remain priority areas of focus across our business through actions that are clearly aligned to our global values and strategy,” said Seema Baines, head of DWF’s diversity and leadership inclusion group.

Eversheds Sutherland’s initiatives will also be featured in the report. Diane Gilhooley, diversity and inclusion partner sponsor said: “I am incredibly proud that in a year like no other we have maintained our focus on gender equality and have factored this in to our response to the pandemic and our plans to build back responsibly. The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened inequalities in many ways, but has also presented a unique opportunity for employers to take forward new ways of doing things.”

Pinsent Masons has been on the list for five consecutive years, but senior partner Richard Foley recognised that more work needed to be done to create a truly equal workplace.

“Equality in all forms is critical if business is to work better for people. While it’s clear that significant progress has been made across the profession over the last decade, I am fully aware that more can and should be done to build on the positive changes we have made at Pinsent Masons such as support for working families and the continued rollout of agile working,” he said.

“There are no quick fixes to achieving equality and recognising the challenges and how far there is still to go ensures that we continue to listen to our people and collaborate with other businesses to improve and adapt in a way that promotes equality in its broadest sense.”

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