Clifford Chance sets ‘ambitious’ inclusion strategy

By Jerome Doraisamy|15 July 2020
Clifford Chance

International law firm Clifford Chance has launched a new global strategy with targets for gender, LGBTQI and ethnicity inclusion.

New regional targets have been introduced by Clifford Chance to ensure “greater ambition, progress and accountability” can be embedded across the firm’s global network.

Headlining the new targets is the push to have at least 40 per cent female and at least 40 per cent male global partners in the firm by 2030, with the firm’s regional offices setting specific targets as well.

The APAC and UK regions are being tasked to increase the proportion of female partners by 25 per cent by 2025 and by 60 per cent by 2030. In the Americas and continental Europe regions, there is a goal to increase the proportion of female partners by 35 per cent by 2025 and 100 per cent by 2030, and in the Middle Eastern region, the target is a rise by 12.5 per cent in female partners by 2025 and 25 per cent by 2030. 

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Further, gender targets of at least 40 per cent female and at least 40 per cent male are to be extended at all levels throughout the firm’s structures at a global and regional level, including to counsel, senior associate, associate, business professionals, directors and leadership groups by 2025. 

Elsewhere, the firm has introduced its first LGBT global partner-level target of 3 per cent by 2025, and its first minority ethnicity targets have been adopted for the US and UK regions, which include 15 per cent of new partners and 30 per cent senior associates and senior business professionals by 2025.

Commenting on the new targets, CC global managing partner Matthew Layton said that creating an inclusive environment is “good for our industry, our firm, our colleagues and our clients”.

“While we are making progress, and are proud of doing so, I recognise that today, inclusion and equality of opportunity [aren’t] the lived experience for many of our people and we have to do much better,” he proclaimed. 

“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.

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Firm partner and global head of people and talent Laura King added that the targets are a step forward, but noted they are not a complete solution to issues faced.

“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,” she submitted. 

“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.

CC global director of inclusion Tiernan Brady argued that 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 said. 

“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.

Clifford Chance sets ‘ambitious’ inclusion strategy
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