International firm Simmons & Simmons ranks top law practice in charity Stonewall’s annual list of 'gay friendly' employers, published today.
Simmons & Simmons achieved eighth place in Stonewall's Top 100 Employers 2014 for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) staff, the only law firm to make the top 10. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was the only magic circle firm to appear on the list, ranking 66th with global firm Norton Rose Fulbright.
A total of 30 firms put themselves forward to be included in the list, with 10 making the top 100.
Andrea Woelke, chair of the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association, welcomed the number of law firms included in the findings, but questioned how representative the research was of attitudes across law firms.
Homophobic bullying is still a problem for some lawyers, he said. 'The research helps to create a culture change, but does not reflect the situation across the profession. I hope that such a shift will make it embarrassing and unacceptable to be homophobic even if the Stonewall research does not provide quantitative or qualitative data,’ he said.
Colin Passmore, senior partner at Simmons & Simmons, said: ‘We’re really pleased by our ranking as it reflects the continued progress of our LGBT initiatives. Our firm has offices internationally, including some in which LGBT human rights are challenged. In the coming year we will extend our focus to ensure that we continue to support all our colleagues across the globe.’
Simmons & Simmons was followed by global firm Baker & McKenzie, which ranked 19th; City firm CMS Cameron McKenna and international firm Herbert Smith Freehills shared 30th place, international firm Hogan Lovells (35th); international firm Eversheds (45th); London firm Pinsent Masons (45th) and national firm Irwin Mitchell (58th).
Stuart Henderson, partner and chair of Irwin Mitchell's diversity board, said: 'We’re extremely pleased with this achievement, which reflects the importance we place on the diversity of our workforce. Diversity is something we at Irwin Mitchell value highly and we celebrate it throughout the firm, helping make the offices enjoyable places for everyone to work.'