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Diversity and Inclusion


At Herbert Smith Freehills we recognise and appreciate all of the differences that make each of us unique. Upholding a culture of inclusion that fosters these differences is imperative for our business and the diverse clients and communities in which we live and work. Embracing a diversity of views and experience means we attract and retain the best talent and provide our clients with the most considered and innovative advice.

CEO Mark Rigotti on what matters to clients on diversity and inclusion
Senior business journalist James Ashton spoke to CEO Mark Rigotti.

Our approach

We take an inclusive approach to diversity including initiatives encompassing gender, race, age, religion and belief, sexual orientation, disability and social inclusion.

Our diversity and inclusion strategy has a particular focus on leadership, the partnership pipeline, innovative work practices and partnering with our clients. We benchmark against best practice beyond our own industry and carry out intensive research and analysis to develop and tailor our programmes.

View our Global Diversity and Inclusion Policy >

View our UK Diversity Statistics 2017 >


Our structure

At Herbert Smith Freehills diversity and inclusion is ingrained in our business. The successful implementation of our diversity and inclusion strategy relies on a structure that creates a consistent and inspiring global experience that encourages input from all our people across the globe and is championed by our executive and our partners.

Global Diversity and Inclusion Group

Reporting into The Global Executive and chaired by CEO Mark Rigotti, the GDIG is made up of senior members from across the firm and its purpose is to oversee the development and monitoring of the global diversity and inclusion strategy.

Regional Diversity and Inclusion Group

The Regional Diversity and Inclusion Group (West), chaired by Nick Turner, Global Diversity Partner, and Regional Diversity and Inclusion Group (East), chaired by Liz Poulos, Global Diversity Partner, support and develop regional action plans. The RDIGs work closely with the Diversity and Inclusion Committees and Staff Networks to ensure that regional activity is in line with the global strategy.

Diversity and Inclusion Committees

The Diversity and Inclusion Committees focus on implementing D&I programmes on a local level. They are made up of people from practice groups and business services and provide insight and suggestions into what programmes or activities could be implemented locally or globally.  

Staff Networks

Staff networks are open to all staff and they assist in the development of programmes that support the firm's diversity and inclusion strategy. The networks are staff led with assistance and oversight from the Diversity and Inclusion Team. Each network focuses on a strand of diversity and they aim to offer educational programmes, create networking forums, run speaker sessions, panel events and workshops. 

Not all of the staff networks are available in each city/region, however the firm currently has the following networks:

  • Ability Network: The firm's disability network that supports the firm's inclusive approach to disability.
  • Family Network: Aims to address issues affecting parents, grandparents, guardians, carers of children and other carers.
  • IRIS Network (LGBT): Aims to create an inclusive environment for all LGBT employees.
  • Multiculturalism Network: Supports and educates employees about ethnic, religious, faith and cultural differences.
  • Women in Business: Designed to support the personal and professional career development of women.
  • Women Lawyers' Network: Supports the firm's wider gender initiatives and the development of women lawyers.
  • Women Trainee Lawyers' Network: Aim of creating opportunities specific to women trainees for personal and professional development.