Pinsent Masons has retained its top ranking among legal firms in the annual Top 100 Employers list published by equality and diversity campaigners Stonewall.
The first law firm to be included in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index back in 2008, Pinsent Masons was ranked overall number 1 in the UK last year, though this year it is placed at number 4 behind Newcastle City Council, Gentoo Group and Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service. It has been in the top five for the last five years and is the highest placed Scottish employer. The firm has more than 500 staff in its offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Six London based practices also feature in the top 25; others with Scottish offices that are ranked are Eversheds Sutherland at 35, and Irwin Mitchell at 74. Shepherd & Wedderburn is placed 16th in the Top 25 in the Legal Sector table, the highest ranking for a Scottish headquartered firm.
One initiative which Pinsent Masons regard as having made a significant contribution to promoting diversity has been the formation of an LGBT Allies network. Staff can privately discuss with an Ally, who are visible and known throughout the firm, matters they may feel they are unable or unwilling to raise with managers.
Pinsent Masons senior associate Craig Macphee, who collected the firm's award, commented: "The willingness of the firm to embrace diversity and inclusion has benefits across the firm. It encourages a more inclusive atmosphere and even for those staff not directly affected by diversity issues, they will feel a parallel benefit if other colleagues are able to come to work and be genuine or authentic.
"More often now, we are being asked by clients, and even third parties who supply services to Pinsent Masons, to share information on the approach we are taking on diversity issues, and we are happy to be able to positively contribute to the wider equality agenda."
He observed: "The Allies network has gained a lot of traction with staff, and they are available for anyone, working at any level, who would benefit from have a confidential sounding board or is looking to seek advice on a range of issues. There is also a strong partnership across the firm with other forums such as our Disability & Wellbeing Network and Female Futures Network, because often those groups share common issues and experiences."
Pinsent Masons’ Chair of Scotland and Northern Ireland, Katharine Hardie, described diversity and inclusion as "a central tenet of our business", adding: "Law graduates are increasingly selective when it comes to deciding which firms they will work for and resting on our laurels and past reputation will not cut it when it comes to attracting the best legal talent. Being highly regarded by the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index provides potential future employees with a valuable benchmark and an assurance that diversity and inclusion is treated seriously at Pinsent Masons."