Chambers Unveils Questions on Diversity in 2021 Submissions
- Posted by Poston Communications
- On June 9, 2020
- Chambers, Chambers submissions, Poston Content
With the first deadlines for Chambers & Partners submissions from the United States fast approaching, law firms may have noticed that this year’s new template requests diversity statistics for the first time. Practices are asked to identify the percentage of their team who identify as ethnic minorities, LGBT+ or who have a disability. The form also breaks down practices by gender.
USA Editor Toby Eccleshall acknowledged this focus on numbers will make some firms uncomfortable. “We know that many firms are trying very hard to improve their diversity and are not there yet,” he told our Poston Content team in a phone conversation from his office in London. “At this stage, diversity numbers are not going to directly influence rankings,” he added, although it’s fair to note that many companies are factoring diversity into their decisions when they hire law firms.
“Our intent is to promote a positive dialogue about diversity at law firms,” Eccleshall said. “We think there should be transparency, and the numbers give us and law firms a better understanding of the marketplace.” Eccleshall told us that Chambers is still deciding how to use the national collection of data from the firms that are vying for recognition as the best in their fields, but over time it should reveal insights that will push the needle forward on diversity.
Eccleshall also encouraged firms to include references who reflect society’s diversity. “We don’t want to talk to the same people every year,” he said. “We want to speak to people with different backgrounds” and a range of experiences.
The collection of diversity data is part of a broader push at Chambers to be a constructive force in the discussion of law firm diversity. Chambers has brought more attention in recent years to firms that are succeeding on the diversity front, especially with an emphasis on its highly competitive Diversity and Inclusion awards. And Chambers has become more aware of diversity within its own ranks of researchers and editors.
“Like most law firms, we are making progress on diversity, but none of us are where we want to be yet,” he said. “It’s something we feel passionately about.”
Poston Content’s team is already busy preparing Chambers submissions for the 2021 guide. For more information on our process and other resources related to Chambers, please visit our Chambers Law Firm Rankings page.