Legal Week has teamed up with the Social Mobility Foundation and the City of London Law Society (CLLS) to recognise those law firms whose fee earners are most satisfied with diversity levels at their firms.
The Best Diversity Employer kite mark will be based on responses to Legal Week’s annual Employee Satisfaction Report (ESR), which is published by its research arm, Legal Week Intelligence. Four leading law firm for diversity kite marks will also be awarded.
The best performing firm will also receive a special award at the British Legal Awards, which takes place in November.
The ESR, which is now in its 11th year, measures satisfaction levels among fee earners at the UK’s leading commercial law firms across a range of criteria.
Last year, for the first time, the report asked fee earners to rate their satisfaction with socio-economic diversity at their firms and this year the question has been extended to cover gender and ethnic diversity.
These responses will form the core of the new accreditation, although other elements of the survey will also be taken into account, including perception of whether promotion opportunities are open to all fee earners as well as overall satisfaction levels among female, state educated and ethnic minority respondents.
David Hobart, chief executive of the CLLS, said: “A number of member firms are active supporters of the Social Mobility Foundation and its successful programme Lawyers in Schools. The CLLS hopes that this employment survey will shed light on the ability of City law firms to attract the best and brightest from all socio-economic backgrounds.”
Last year, Shoosmiths received the best diversity satisfaction score, with Baker & McKenzie in second place and Mishcon de Reya in third.
At Shoosmiths, fee earners gave the level of diversity at their firm a score of 8.6 out of 10, with 10 being the most favourable score possible.
The average satisfaction score for diversity for all 51 firms surveyed was 6.8 out of 10.
The move comes as commercial law firms are coming under growing pressure to publish diversity statistics and policies.
Earlier this month Linklaters became the first magic circle firm to adopt gender diversity targets.The firm is aiming for 30% female membership of its executive committee and international board by 2018.
The target would represent a doubling of female representation on the board, which currently stands at 15%. The firm has also set a target for partner promotions, with the intention of women make up 30% of new partners effective from next year’s round.
In recent years, diversity targets have also been announced by Ashurst, which is aiming to fill a quarter of its management positions with women, Pinsent Masons, which has set a goal of 25% female partners by May 2018, and Herbert Smith Freehills, which announced a 30% target for female partners in March.
The research for this year’s Employee Satisfaction Report is currently in the field and will close on 4 July. For every completed survey, Legal Week Intelligence will donate £1 to the Social Mobility Foundation, which aims to improve the professional prospects of young people from low-income backgrounds.
For more information about firm-wide participation in the survey, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on +44 0207 316 9864.
To complete the survey click here.