I am proud to announce the results of our UK Law Firm Diversity Program (LFDP) for 2022, recognising the progress of our law firm partners in advancing diversity and inclusion within their organisations.
The benefits of diversity enable Microsoft to accomplish its mission to empower every organization and every person on the planet to achieve more. It is imperative that the law firms supporting our business and legal teams in our mission reflect the diversity in the UK, and remain committed to creating inclusive environments — where lawyers and legal professionals from all backgrounds can thrive.
Diverse teams bring a range of lived experiences and unique insights, and are more creative, more innovative and drive greater customer and client engagement. I witness this first hand in our work every day, and can see the material difference it makes.
The Law Diversity Program in the UK
The Law Firm Diversity Program (LFDP) was launched in the UK in 2020, building on the existing LFDP that began in 2008 in the US (which recently announced its 2022 results). We invited all firms that do substantial work for Microsoft in the UK to join, and we now have eight participating firms.
The LFDP is an incentive-based programme and as of 2022 it provides bonuses to participating firms in the UK, calculated as a percentage of their annual fees, for achieving and/or exceeding diversity representation goals. Every year, Microsoft reviews and iterates on the LFDP diversity goals to enable and ensure continued progress.
Since the initial UK pilot in 2020, in addition to adding the bonus of up to 3% on participating firms’ annual fees, we have increased our targets for partner growth and committee growth of Black/Black British, Asian/Asian British, or Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups, women’s partner growth and minority partner growth. We also added a social mobility target.
The Law Firm Diversity Program Results in 2022
The strongest area of performance continues to be diverse representation on teams that work on Microsoft matters. We continue to see gains year over year, with seven of eight firms achieving the targets set for diversity on Microsoft hours for both attorneys and partners.
The program saw a collective growth of 13.0% and 4.2% in total diverse Microsoft partner hours and attorney hours, respectively, for a net percentage gain of 39.7% and 7.1%.
Diversity in leadership:
The programme saw significant gains in diverse representation in certain areas for 2022, including general partner diversity, women partners, and LGBTQI+ partners:
- Growth in overall diversity in the partnership ranks grew 2.0%, to 37.4%, for the largest diversity percentage gain in 2022 FTE targets and a net percentage gain of 8% over 2021.
- Representation of women in the partnership also had a material gain and grew 6% to 32.9%, resulting in a net percentage change of 5.0% over 2021.
- Representation of racial and ethnic minorities in the partnership grew 0.3% to 2%, resulting in a net percentage change of 4.0% over 2021.
- Representation of LGBTQI+ partners grew 0.5% to 8%, increasing representation from 2021 by more than a third, for a net percentage change of 37.7% over 2021.
- Diversity on executive or management committees had mixed results overall and was the only target that lost percentage share of diversity, for a loss of 1% down to 43.5%. While total diverse FTE committee members grew, it did not grow enough to outpace the increase in general committee population, resulting in a loss of diversity percentage.
- Each year we publicly recognise any of our participating UK firms who meet 100% of the diversity goals we set. Although no firm received a score of 100%, the two top performing firms achieved 8 out of 9 targets — an impressive achievement that we believe worthy of recognition.
Top Performing Firms:
Each firm met eight of nine diversity targets, as well as being able to meet program benchmarks, maintain existing diversity, and in many areas, increase target diversity while adding net new diverse FTEs. We recognise this happens through specific, sustained effort, and would like to celebrate their achievements.
London-based partner and Co-Chair of Covington’s TechComm Regulatory group, Lisa Peets, said: “Covington has made meaningful progress in advancing our DEI commitment and goals, including in London where our initiatives are focused on inclusive practices to create equitable opportunities for all. We are proud to work alongside Microsoft to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts around the world.”
In a full statement, the firm shared: At Covington, we believe that excellence in the practice of law knows no racial, ethnic, gender, religious, sexual orientation, ability, or other boundaries. The firm views diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as an essential element of our culture and community. We approach DEI with a focus on our lawyers and staff, our clients, and our marketplace. Our comprehensive program includes: 1) leadership commitment that ensures this is a priority for the firm, 2) a strategic action plan with goals to guide our efforts, and 3) a team of dedicated D&I (diversity) professionals who ensure we make progress every day. Covington prioritises partnering with organisations that share our commitment to fostering environments that promote mutual understanding, encourage collaboration, and break down barriers. We are proud to participate in Microsoft’s UK Law Firm Diversity Program as we continue to advocate for the enhancement and promotion of D&I within the legal profession.
Clive Gringras, Head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications at CMS, and Microsoft’s client relationship partner, said of the recognition: “I am thrilled that Microsoft wanted to highlight our diversity and inclusion efforts for a second year. Microsoft’s legal team in its typically thoughtful and data-driven way encourages and incentivises us to engage our diverse workforce on all of the company’s matters.”
Sophie Breuil, Head of D&I added: “As a global, future-facing law firm, with clients and employees spanning a multitude of countries and cultures, diversity and inclusion is not just an aspiration for CMS, it is an imperative. Working with Microsoft has been one of the most progressive partnerships I have been part of and a true collaboration, enabling tangible and lasting change.”
Focus metrics for 2023
In the coming year we will be maintaining LFDP metrics from 2022. We recognise that additional time is needed to track performance against our new growth metrics established last year. We remain committed to measuring results, acknowledging progress, and finding ways to partner with our law firms through our other aligned commitments on pro bono and volunteer service.
We’d like to thank all our participating UK firms for helping to make it another successful year for LFDP and look forward to working with you all again in 2023. Opportunities remain to make greater progress across all diverse communities. There are no true wins, only progress to acknowledge and a call for greater investment and focus on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession which benefits all.