Microsoft considers the UK law firm the finest for diversity
Microsoft, the technology giant, has named legal firm CMS as the top performer in its annual diversity programme for its UK partner firms.
Clive Gringras, Microsoft's client relationship partner and head of technology, media and telecom, at CMS, said the firm was "delighted to be the top performer in diversity against such great competitors."
"Massive credit goes to the superb and diverse lawyers at CMS who devote themselves to providing high-quality advice, especially during these most challenging times," he stated.
The programme's data-driven approach "challenges us to be more deliberate in choosing the most diverse team possible," Gringras added.
The UK Law Firm Diversity Programme (LFDP) was launched last year. It builds on a similar programme that Microsoft set up for its US partner firm in 2008. It aims to support Microsoft's UK partner firms to diversify their workforces and in particular advance the representation of lawyers of color among their leadership.
From Microsoft's eight UK partner firms, CMS emerged ahead of Reed Smith, Mishcon de Reya, Eversheds Sutherland, Wiggin, Covington & Burling, Osborne Clarke and PWF in terms of progress towards greater diversity.
The results showed that during this year the number of hours that employees from CMS spent on Microsoft matters increased 12 percent to reach 63.1 percent, while the overall diversity of CMS's management committee rose by 7.7 percent to meet the 50 percent target.
Diversity of the firm's partnership went up by 3 percent to 41.7 percent, with the number of women partners and minority partners increasing by 2.4 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively. Microsoft described this as "promising progress."
Based on the success of the programme in the UK, Microsoft said it would begin offering a bonus of up to 3 percent on the annual fees of partner firms that achieve their diversity targets in 2022, which is already in place for the US version of the programme.
The firm said it intended to create a number of initiatives specifically aimed at promoting the representation of ethnic minority talent across its international network. It was targeted at attracting 35 percent of applications from ethnically diverse candidates by 2023 and the launch of a two-year pilot programme for ethnically diverse senior associates.
Early this year, CMS had unveiled its largest-ever global promotional round, elevating 52 lawyers to partner. Women accounted for 43 percent of its promotions in the UK and 37 percent of new partners globally. This was a slight dip from the previous year's figure of 41 percent and 10 percent below the 2019 record, which saw 47 percent of the spots going to women.