Managing Partner, Andrew Blain

SHEPHERD and Wedderburn is the top-ranked Scottish-headquartered law firm in a new list of the UK’s top 25 legal employers for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff.

The firm is ranked 16th 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: “Across the Board and senior leaders at Shepherd and Wedderburn there is great engagement and interest in LGBT inclusion, both within the workplace and within the wider community.”

It adds: “Shepherd and Wedderburn have an established, engaged and active network that clearly plays an important role in supporting the wider LGBT diversity and inclusion initiatives run by the firm. Particular note should be given for the firm’s engagement in sector-wide activities to advance LGBT inclusion, but also for supporting existing clients to engage with LGBT inclusion activities through invitations to training and awareness raising sessions.”

Andrew Blain, Managing Partner of Shepherd and Wedderburn, said: “We are pleased that Stonewall and the InterLaw Diversity Forum have recognised our commitment to encouraging diversity and inclusion. Our standing in the WEI also reflects our recognition of the valuable contribution we can all make to an organisation and wider society through our many different experiences and perspectives. We are proud of our inclusive and collaborative approach, both internally and when working with clients, and are committed to promoting a meritocratic culture that encourages career progression for all.”

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.

Colin Macfarlane, Director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “Shepherd and Wedderburn are playing a huge role in improving the lives of LGBT people in Scotland, and should be very proud of their work.

“We still don’t live in a world where everyone is able to be themselves in the workplace, as we know more than a third of LGBT staff (36 per cent) hide who they are at work. By taking steps to make their workplaces supportive and welcoming of all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, these organisations are bringing us closer to a world where everyone is accepted without exception.”