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Diversity and Inclusion

Leading for inclusion


“We know that diversity and inclusion encourages innovation by harnessing the strength of our different ways of thinking and working. Ensuring we have a diverse and inclusive workplace is a key priority for me, and I am proud to champion our initiatives in this space.” - Mark Rigotti

We value all of the differences that make each of us at Herbert Smith Freehills unique.

Our vision is to...


and retain top talent from a diverse range of people and enable them to perform to their full potential


for our clients and our business through the contribution of diverse perspectives


with our clients via our diversity and inclusion programmes and be best placed to meet the needs of a diverse client base across global markets


all our people to connect, collaborate, excel and lead to create a global inclusive culture


Our strategy



Our approach to diversity and inclusion is driven by our Leading for Inclusion 2018-21 strategy.

The successful implementation of our diversity and inclusion strategy relies on a structure that creates a consistent and inclusive global experience.

Read more about our structure and governance.

Our diversity networks are a key way of engaging our people in our diversity and inclusion programmes and delivering our objectives.

We recently launched our Asia Multicultural Network with a video series titled “Where are you from?” – watch the videos here

Read more about our diversity networks.

Download strategy 

Gender targets

We set targets in 2014 in order to increase the proportion and number of women in our partnership and as part of our commitment to having a leading inclusive culture.

In the five years since our first targets the number of women in the partnership has increased by over 50%.

Our targets are:

  • By 1 May 2023, women will comprise 35% of:
    • partners; and
    • partner leadership roles.

Some of the initiatives we’ve undertaken to increase the gender balance in our partnership include:

  • Addressing unconscious bias and developing our inclusive leadership capability to create an inclusive culture
  • Scrutiny of our talent pipeline to ensure we are developing all of our talent to success through development support, mentoring and sponsorship
  • Creating more flexibility through agile working
  • Focusing on what every partner can do to make a difference

download our latest update

Mental Health and Wellbeing


In 2018 we launched our global commitment to health and wellbeing, underlining the firm's commitment to helping our people prioritise their health and wellbeing and reinforcing a supportive, respectful and inclusive culture.

We are taking positive steps to raise awareness, promote greater health and wellbeing and  provide training and support. On World Mental Health Day we demonstrated our support with a series of events throughout the firm including by sharing some of our stories.

Watch the full This is Me video series here





In October 2019, we launched our first global mental health strategy – Thrive. This strategy will drive our activity throughout the firm, with a focus on culture, prevention and access to support to enable optimal mental health for everyone.

Read more about our strategy here

For more information please contact Danielle Kelly.


How We Work Guidelines – driving sustainable working practices

Our How We Work guidelines create an explicit link between a high performance culture, individual wellbeing and more efficient, balanced and sustainable ways of working. They cover a number of areas, including promoting smart meetings, mindful emailing, better conversations and embracing agile and flexible working.

Read more about our How We Work Guidelines here




Listen to Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Danielle Kelly, in conversation with Wellness Daily about the firm's journey on health and wellbeing and what we're doing to better connect individuals with the underlying purpose and mission of the firm.


Listen to Partner and Chair of our Indian Practice, Chris Parsons in conversation with the Law Society about the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the legal sector and his own personal story.


Read more about our approach




We monitor our progress by participating in market benchmarks, and benchmark ourselves against industry best practice. We are proud of the following achievements:

Financial Times Most Innovative International Law Firm in Asia Pacific 2019

Financial Times Award for Innovation in Diversity & Inclusion 2019

'Community Business DIAN Decade Awards for Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Asia 2018

Stonewall Top 100 Employers (2009 - 2018)

Pride in Diversity Australian Workplace Equality Index Silver Tier employer (2018)

Social Mobility Employer Index, Top 50 (2017-2018)

The Times Top 50 Employers for Women (2015 - 2017)

Employer of Choice for Gender Equality - Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency [a statutory government agency] (2016-  2017)

GradAustralia &The Australian Top 100 Graduate Employer, number one Legal Sector Recruiter (2015 - 2017)

Lawyers Weekly Employer of Choice Survey - number one “attraction firm” for potential employees (2015 - 2017)

Morgan Stanley Asia Pacific Outside Counsel Diversity Award (2017)

Stonewall Global Employers for LGBT inclusion (2015 - 2017)

Working with Pride Index – Gold Ranking (2017)

Community Business Hong Kong LGBT + Inclusion Index since 2015, achieved Gold Standard in 2019

Key Contacts