Shepherd and Wedderburn is the only Scottish-headquartered law firm to be ranked in the inaugural list of the UK’s top 25 legal employers for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff.
The firm is 19th in the Top 25 in the Legal Sector listing, published by Stonewall and the InterLaw Diversity Forum as part of Stonewall’s annual Workplace Equality Index (WEI).
The WEI is recognised as the definitive national benchmarking exercise for employers to measure their progress on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT+) inclusion in the workplace.
Organisations are ranked by Stonewall based on a number of criteria, including workplace policies and benefits, senior leadership, monitoring, the performance of LGBT+ employee network groups, community and client engagement and employee feedback.
In its report, Stonewall said: “Shepherd and Wedderburn have demonstrated that they have considered the experiences and requirements of LGBT+ people throughout their policies and procedures,” adding that the firm has “demonstrated considerations for LGBT+ identities throughout the employee lifecycle, there has been recruitment from diversity websites, training that includes specific LGBT content and consideration for the professional development of LGBT+ staff”.
The report also states Shepherd and Wedderburn had “undertaken a range of activities over the past year to advance LGBT+ equality, both internally and externally”.
Shepherd and Wedderburn chief executive Stephen Gibb said: “We are pleased that Stonewall and the InterLaw Diversity Forum have recognised the efforts we have made, and continue to make, to be an inclusive and diverse workplace.
“Shepherd and Wedderburn is a people business that values and rewards the contribution of colleagues, right across our organisation. The firm is proud of its inclusive and collaborative culture, both internally and when working with clients, and is committed to encouraging and supporting diversity and social mobility. We strive to promote a meritocratic culture that encourages career progression regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or socio-economic background.”
The InterLaw Diversity Forum, of which Shepherd and Wedderburn is a member, was established in 2008 to provide an inter-organisational forum for all LGBT+ personnel in the legal sector. It has since broadened its scope to encompass all strands of diversity and inclusion (including BAME, disability, and social mobility), with a particular focus on cultural change in the workplace and ‘multiple identities’/ intersectionality.
Emma Kosmin, index and benchmarking manager at Stonewall, said: “These firms’ success is a testament to all their hard work and dedication to workplace inclusion over the last year.
“With their support, we are one step closer to creating a world where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees are accepted without exception.”
Daniel Winterfeldt, founder and chair of the InterLaw Diversity Forum, said: “We are proud of the legal sector’s ongoing leadership in LGBT+ equality and very pleased to see this recognised in the WEI. Congratulations to all the law firms in the Top 25 and to all law firms participating in the WEI.”