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Diversity and Inclusion

An inclusive working environment

We are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive working environment in which people of all backgrounds and experiences can reach their full potential. We strive to be one of the best employers of talent, regardless of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, marital status, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation, age or caring responsibilities.

We treat all applications fairly and on merit, ensuring that there are equal opportunities for everyone at all stages of the recruitment process and for development and promotion during their career at the firm.

HFW Gender Pay Gap Report 2017/18






Some examples of our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion include:

  • Our Diversity and Inclusion Committee approves, monitors and reviews progress against our diversity and inclusion strategy. Progress is reported to the Board on a regular basis.
  • We have a global network of senior Diversity and Inclusion Champions whose role is to embed inclusive behaviours and diversity initiatives into the HFW culture.
  • We are Signatories of the Law Society's Diversity and Inclusion Charter. The Charter is a public commitment to developing and implementing best practice.
  • We are signatories to the Equal Representation in Arbitration pledge.
  • We are signatories to the Prime work experience commitment.
  • Individuals in the firm are members of the The Alliance for Equality in Dispute Resolution, WISTA and Women in Agribusiness.
  • We are members of Stonewall's Diversity Champions' Programme in the UK and globally.
  • We partner with Aspiring Solicitors to increase the diversity of our trainee intake and we are supporters of the City Solicitors Horizons social mobility pilot programme.
  • We review salaries and bonus awards annually for equal pay purposes.
  • We are an accredited 'Living Wage Employer' in London.

We are proud of the achievements we have made to date as they show HFW is committed to taking action and affecting change.

Gender equality

  • In 2015, we set an ambitious target to have 30% female fixed share partners by 2020. As of January 2018, 25% of our salaried partners are women.
  • In 2016, 44% of all new Partners, and 55% of all new Senior Associates promoted were women and in the 2017 promotion round, 50% of client-facing Partners were female and 42% of Senior Associates were women.
  • We have introduced a development programme for Senior Associates making good progress towards a more senior role with the firm. Notably, 44% of the cohort on the programme was women.
  • We have signed up to and support the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge, an initiative involving a growing number of well-known organisations and individuals from the arbitration community who are committed to improving the profile and representation of women in arbitration. Click here to find out more about the commitments we have made.
  • In recognition of International Women's Day 2018, nine of our offices organised events and activities. We will also recognise International Men's Day on 19 November 2019 as we have in previous years.

Mental health and wellbeing

  • We believe that mental health is just as important as physical health and we aim to reduce stigma and provide support to everyone in the organisation.
  • We have developed a Healthy Minds network in Europe and a global network of Mental Health First Aiders.
  • We run events and campaigns in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week and World Mental Health Day
  • Over one hundred of our partners have attended mental health awareness training since May 2017.
  • During Mental Health Awareness Week 2017, ten of our offices took part in the Green Ribbon Campaign.


  • We have committed to increase the ethnic diversity of our trainee intake in London and as a result we have partnered with Aspiring Solicitors and made the first stage of our application process name blind.
  • The percentage of London trainees who are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) has increased from 17.% in 2015 to 24.2% in 2018.

Social mobility

  • We are committed to improving social mobility and in 2017 we were listed in the first UK Top 50 Social Mobility Employer Index.
  • We aim to increase access to our London trainee programme for those from lower income backgrounds, to increase awareness of law as a career path and to increase the employability skills of young people.
  • We have introduced a contextual recruitment system and our partnership with Aspiring Solicitors and our involvement in the City Solicitors Horizons social mobility programme ensures we engage with people from lower income backgrounds.
  • Through our commitment to Prime we offer work experience to young people from low income backgrounds in the form of three one-week structured programmes.
  • In the London borough of Southwark, we support three secondary schools (providing students with masterclasses, mentors and internships) through our partnership with Career Ready and we run reading schemes with two local primary schools.
  • The percentage of our London trainees who are first generation to go to university has increased from 10.3% in 2015 to 33.3% in 2018. The number of our trainees who attended independent school has decreased from 34.5% in 2015 to 30.3% in 2018.

Sexual orientation/gender identity

  • We have worked hard to create an environment that is inclusive of our LGBT colleagues.
  • We are members of Stonewall's UK and Global Champions programme and use Stonewall's Workplace Equality Index as an opportunity to identify areas we are performing well in as well as areas in which we can improve.
  • Our Proud@HFW network in London organises events, training and campaigns in recognition of LGBT history month and Pride which are well supported by our LGBT allies.

We know there is much more work to be done and we are committed to continuing to make improvements.

As a result of the findings of our gender pay gap report we will be reviewing our gender equality strategy and at the same time will review our entire approach to diversity and inclusion.

Diversity statistics as at January 2018

Global statistics

Partners Fee earners Trainees Business Services Secretarial Services Total
Women 14.2% 50.8% 48.9% 58.4% 98.6% 53.5%

London statistics

Partners Fee earners Trainees Business Services Secretarial Services Total
Women 11.8% 40.2% 39.4% 50.0% 96.5% 46.3%
Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic 2.9% 8.3% 24.2% 26.0% 10.5% 14.9%
School attended
International school (located outside of the UK) 5.9% 8.3% 18.2% 12.3% 10.5% 10.3%
Other 2.9% 3.8% 0.0% 2.1% 3.5% 2.8%
UK independent/private school 27.9% 32.6% 30.3% 10.3% 5.3% 20.6%
UK state or grammar school (non-selective) 14.7% 21.2% 18.2% 51.4% 47.4% 33.5%
UK state or grammar school (selective) 7.4% 10.6% 18.2% 6.2% 14.0% 9.6%
First generation to attend University
Yes 36.8% 31.1% 33.3% 24.7% 14.0% 27.8%
Sexual orientation
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual - - - - - 1.8%
Yes - - - -   0.9%


(1) The data above is accurate as of January 2018.

(2) Percentages are based on the known population as in some cases staff have chosen not to provide their diversity statistics or have chosen 'prefer not to say'.

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