UK Diversity Legal Awards 2013 – Winners announced

Last night saw the presentation of the 4th UK Diversity Legal Awards, at the launch of the 2013 Diversity League Table report. The event, attended by well over 100 people, was hosted by Hogan Lovells at their London office and opened by the chair of Hogan Lovells, Nicholas Cheffings.

The UK Diversity Legal Awards are the only industry awards in the UK which focus solely on recognising and promoting equality and diversity across the legal profession. First presented in 2010, one of the aims of the UK Diversity Legal Awards is to provide encouragement, by way of recognition; putting a spotlight on some of the best work being done in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion.

The award categories cover ‘Recruitment’, ‘Retention’ and ‘Promotion’. There are also awards for ‘Firm of the Year’ and ‘Chambers of the Year’, with ‘Diversity Champion’ as the only individual award.

Barbara Saunders OBE, Board Member of the Legal Services Board announced this year’s winners.

The category ‘Firm of the Year’ goes to the firm that attained the highest ranking in the overall Diversity League Table this year, and the winner was, Matthew Arnold & Baldwin LLP. Ranked second was O’Melveny & Myers LLP, with last year’s winner Shoosmiths LLP coming third

Laura Seaman, Matthew Arnold & Baldwin’s Corporate Responsibility Partner, said “We are committed to recruiting and retaining the very best candidates and as such have been working towards a more inclusive and diverse workforce for some time. We have been proactive in implementing policies and procedures to address this. Being recognised as the most diverse law firm in this report is a heartening indication of the success of our endeavours but we are not complacent. We are excited about the future and look forward to engaging in the diversity debate with BSN and others and building on this achievement.”

The category ‘Chambers of the Year’ goes to the Chambers that attained the highest ranking in the overall Diversity League Table this year, and the winner was Matrix Chambers. Ranked second was Coram Chambers, with last year’s winner Hardwicke Chambers coming third.

Lindsay Scott, CEO, Matrix Chambers said, “The promotion of equal opportunity has been a Core Value of Matrix since its inception in 2000. Since then we have worked hard to build a workforce comprised of approximately equal proportions of women and men, and one where minorities are proportionately represented. We are particularly proud of our retention of women at Matrix, who typically fall out of the legal profession later on in their careers. We are delighted that our achievements as an equal opportunities organisation have been recognised in this year’s Diversity League Table. Thank you.”

Clifford Chance won the category ‘Recruitment: Attracting Talent’, for their work in partnership with the ‘upReach Programme’ which looks at the issue of, “Access to the Professions for Undergraduates from Less-Privileged Backgrounds.” Matrix Chambers were Highly Commended.

Laura Yeates, Graduate Recruitment & Development Manager at Clifford Chance LLP said,“We’re delighted we have been recognised for our work as one of upReach’s founding partners. It has been a real privilege to be able to work with such a high-calibre team to find the best possible candidates, regardless of social background.”

Matrix Chambers won the category, ‘Retention: Talent Management’ for their work addressing the issue of “Women with families and ethnic minorities, who are typically under-supported at the Bar, resulting in them leaving the industry at an earlier stage than expected.” Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP were Highly Commended.

Linklaters LLP won the category ‘Promotion: Progressing Talent’ for their ‘Women’s Leadership Programme’ the aim of which is to “…develop and retain highly talented women within the firm; to achieve a greater proportion of female lawyers in the pipeline to partnership and ultimately a greater proportion of female partners in the firm.”

The recipient of the Diversity Champion award was Tom Shropshire. A partner at global law firm, Linklaters; co-Chair of the firm’s BAME network, a member of the International Board, he is also Chair of the firm’s Corporate Responsibility Committee.

In response to winning the two awards, Linklaters’ Tom Shropshire said, “We are extremely pleased to have been recognised as a firm for our Women’s Leadership Programme and I am greatly appreciative to the BSN for recognizing the efforts I have been making alongside other colleagues within Linklaters and for the benefit of the legal profession as a whole. I am fortunate to be in a position to make the case for progress across a range of issues within my firm and the City, with a commitment to diversity being at the heart of those efforts.”


For information about the 2014 UK Diversity Legal Awards, or taking part in the 2014 Diversity League Table, please email: diversity@blacksolicitorsnetwork.co.uk