Clifford Chance has pledged that at least 40% of the law firm’s global partners will be female within 10 years as it unveiled ambitious diversity targets for gender, LGBT+ and ethnicity across the world.
The firm’s global inclusion strategy, “Change the rules, change the culture and change the lived experience”, includes specific regional targets to ensure accountability is embedded across the firm’s locations.
By 2025 Clifford Chance aims for 3% of its global partners to identify as LGBT while for ethnicity, targets have been set in the UK and US for 15% of new partners and 30% of senior associates and business professionals.
Partner and global head of people and talent Laura King said: “Talking about numbers is the easy part; we now need to deliver on the actions which will enable inclusive teams to thrive. No matter what challenges the external environment brings, we must maintain momentum and accelerate our progress, because it is during challenging times, such as the current global environment, that a firm’s values come to the fore.”
Legal sector diversity
In its London office, 25.5% of partners are female. The firm aims to make this 30% by 2025 and 41% by 2030. In the Americas there are currently 17.6% female. The target here is 23.8% by 2025 and 35.2% by 2030.
Ambitious targets have been set for the Middle East where only 5.6% of partners are women. This will rise to 12.5% by 2025 and 25% by 2030.
King added: “We are committed to breaking down the barriers that are restricting recruitment, progress and retention and believe we will be a stronger firm if we can attract the best people from the widest talent pools by delivering an equality of opportunity and advancement for all.”
The global partner targets of at least 40% female and at least 40% male are to be extended at all levels throughout the firm’s structures, including to counsel, senior associate, associate, business professionals, directors and leadership groups by 2025.
Global director of inclusion Tiernan Brady said: “There is nothing inevitable about inclusion. There is no hidden arc of progress that will make it happen automatically. If we want to build an inclusive firm and society, we have to work hard and campaign for it, set goals and when we achieve them, defend and champion them.”
He added: “Behind the targets announced today is a tailored set of initiatives that represents a comprehensive strategy to deliver greater inclusion. The top of our firm needs to look like the rest of the firm and the societies we are based in. It is both a core value and an economic imperative, and it is the future for the legal sector.”
Global managing partner Matthew Layton said: “While we are making progress, and are proud of doing so, I recognise that today, inclusion and equality of opportunity isn’t the lived experience for many of our people and we have to do much better. To make the change that our people, our clients and society expect from us, we need to be actively campaigning and forging positive, inclusive environments which are enriched by the diversity of our people.
“We have already seen how we can use data to focus attention on our inclusion challenges and their root causes. Our new targets will be a powerful catalyst for the change we want to see and I hope they will set a new standard for our industry.”