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Diversity and inclusion


Increasing the number of women within the partnership is a key priority. This is a long-term strategy with several ongoing projects and initiatives. A lot of our work focuses on building our pipeline of talented women lawyers and creating an inclusive environment for them to develop their careers and reach their potential.

To achieve this aim we use a range of measures, including setting targets for partner promotions, and initiatives such as our global sponsorship programme for women.

We know we need to create a working environment that is equally welcoming to all, regardless of gender identity. We also understand the benefits of bringing together people with shared interests and common goals, and our women’s networks are an integral part of this.

We have active women’s networks in many of our offices. Our employee-led groups provide an opportunity to network, offer skills-based sessions for our women and enable them to develop their external network through events with clients. Many of our regional women’s networks collaborate with Halo, our LGBTQ+ network, as they recognise the need to have the conversation around gender more broadly, to encompass all identities.

Outside our firm, we take an active role globally in the 30% Club, a group of business leaders committed to achieving better gender balance at all levels of commerce.

Launched in November 2018, the EDGE Commitment has been developed by our Women’s Network in London in collaboration with colleagues across the firm, and aims to promote gender equality across the firm globally. The initiative aims to empower our people to take very practical, everyday actions in their working lives that will cause incremental, tangible changes that will in turn foster true equality. More than 2,000 people across the Freshfields global network have signed up to EDGE since launch, committing to 10 everyday actions.

We are also passionate about promoting gender equality in the wider legal industry. In recognition of the under-representation of women on international tribunals, in 2015, members of the arbitration community (including Sylvia Noury, Partner in dispute resolution) drew up a pledge to take action. The ‍Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge seeks to increase, on an equal opportunity basis, the number of women appointed as arbitrators in order to achieve a fair representation as soon practically possible, with the ultimate goal of full parity.

In September 2022, we have also signed up to the Equal Representation for Expert Witnesses (ERE) Pledge, which aims to bring and drive commitment to improve the visibility and representation of women as expert witnesses, and to address the challenges faced by women who work, or who aspire to work, as expert witnesses in all forms of dispute resolution globally.

Our commitment to a diverse and inclusive future.


Read our press release