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Clifford Chance

31 WEST 52ND STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10019-6131, USA
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Clifford Chance Diversity Statement

Clifford Chance is one of the most diverse law firms in the world, with 36 offices in 23 countries spread across six continents. We are proud that our global workforce reflects a broad range of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, citizenship status, pregnancy, disability, veteran status, genetic predisposition or other protected status.

In the United States, Clifford Chance has long demonstrated a strong commitment to building a diverse team to serve clients, as well as our local communities:

  • Nearly 40 percent of our associates and 30 percent of all lawyers are ethnic minorities*, which is more than double the industry average** for US firms our size; and our all-lawyer percentage is 12 points higher than the average for Am Law 200 and NLJ 250 firms in the US;
  • Women make up 38 percent of our US lawyers (the average for a US firm our size is 34 percent***); and
  • Nearly than half (49 percent) of our US Business Services personnel are ethnic minorities.

* Ethnic minority means: American Indian/Native Alaskan, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, people from two or more races, or from other jurisdictions influenced by US-specific legislative diversity definitions. These statistics are based on self-identification by the individuals.

** Law360's The Best Firms For Minority Attorneys (2018)

*** Law360’s 2018 Glass Ceiling Report

Our global diversity policy sets out our firm-wide approach to Diversity and Inclusion. To read the policy, please visit our policies page.


Supporting Diversity and Inclusion


We have a very active Diversity Committee in the US comprised of partners, associates and Business Services colleagues who work collaboratively through five subcommittees – Arcus (LGBT+), Asian and Pacific Islander, Black and Latino, Veterans, and Women – to help us celebrate our diversity while promoting greater understanding and inclusiveness. Case in point: the art curator who serves our New York office works with our subcommittees on special exhibits that support diverse artists and show our appreciation for diversity during different times of the year – for example, Black History Month.

In 2019, Clifford Chance hired one of the world's best known and most successful campaigners, Tiernan Brady, to be the Firm's Global Director of Inclusion. Prior to assuming that role, he led winning campaigns for marriage equality in Ireland and Australia; they remain the only two countries in the world to enact marriage equality by a public vote. Today Tiernan devotes his time to developing our Firm's global inclusion policies and leading their implementation within our Firm, with clients and in wider society.

Tiernan was featured in the cover story of the "September-October 2019 edition of Corporate Counsel Business Journal," where he provided a broad overview of his experience and how he is applying it to accelerate progress around diversity and inclusion. You can access the full interview "here."

As a firm, we are committed to increasing our ethnic diversity, which we believe helps us bring a better-informed outlook when advising global clients. Our London office, for example, has forged a long-term partnership with diversity recruitment group Rare, which was founded in 2005 to support minority candidates in securing graduate positions in top firms and to help companies recruit diverse talent. Since 2011, we have made 169 training contract offers through Rare and were the first firm to adopt Rare's Contextual Recruitment System (CRS), identifying standout candidates by not only looking at grades, but determining how those grades compare to a candidate's schooling and background. Since adopting the CRS, the firm now employs more candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds, and in recent years, our trainee intake of black and minority ethnic candidates has averaged more than 40 percent.

We are focused on building deeper, broader roots in the many communities in which we operate. This enables us to gain a better understanding of the local market, deepen relationships with clients and help set the agenda for key issues. A good example of this can be seen in our Singapore office, where we have worked hard to integrate into the local community, almost doubling the number of locally qualified lawyers over the past several years. We run an active internship program for Singaporean students, and together with our Formal Law Alliance partner, Cavanagh Law LLP, we are now able to offer a two-year training program for Singaporean graduates.



Advice To My Younger Self

In 2017, Clifford Chance in the US spearheaded (in partnership with The Legal 500) the development of a book featuring women lawyers from across our firm providing "Advice To My Younger Self." The book delivers helpful insights for career advancement and personal growth from successful women lawyers and senior leaders who are alumnae of the firm. This bespoke work has been viewed online and in print by more than 25,000 people across over the world, ranging from in-house counsel to law school students to our firm's own associates. The full book is available to read or download here.

In 2019, Clifford Chance achieved Mansfield re-certification, two years after agreeing to be a pioneering US firm for the Mansfield Rule. To be Mansfield certified, a law firm must, among other things, consider a minimum of 30 percent women, LGBT+ and minority lawyers for significant leadership roles.

"We are proud to have met the criteria for certification under the Mansfield Rule," said Evan Cohen, managing partner for Clifford Chance's Americas region. "One-third of our US practice areas are led by a minority or woman partner, and our pipeline of diverse future leaders is robust. Additionally, 60 percent of our US Business Services departments are led by women. We are clearly on the right track, but we also know there is more we must accomplish in the years ahead and are committed to doing so."

In 2009, we became one of the first international law firms to establish a target to improve the gender balance of its partnership. Our target is at least 30 percent. While significant improvements have been made (for example, 29 percent of our partners in Asia Pacific and 24 percent of our partners in London are women), we are not yet where we want to be overall. In the US, growing our ranks of women and diverse partners has been prioritized, with our percentage of women partners now at 18 percent -- a figure that, although still not good enough, has doubled in the past six years. We are making progress towards our goal by focusing on seven key themes: policy, transparency, objectivity, education, mentoring, networking and role models.

Our commitment and effort to help women lawyers advance their careers continues to expand. In 2019 we became the sponsor of the Women's Group for the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) in New York City. We hosted a special event for ACC members featuring Mika Brzezinski, co-host of Morning Joe and best-selling author of "Know Your Value -- Women, Money and Getting What You're Worth." We will again have a prominent role at The American Lawyer's Women, Influence, Power & Law (WIPL) conference. After serving as lead sponsor and keynoting the 2018 WIPL Executive Leadership Forum, we were a lead sponsor of the 2019 WIPL main conference attended by approximately 600 women lawyers, moderating two panels on data privacy/cybersecurity and cross-border M&A transactions. In 2019, we also became a lead sponsor of Corporate Counsel Business Journal's inaugural Women in Business and Law Summit. And once again, we will sponsor the Women's Luncheon at the SIFMA C&L Annual Seminar in November 2019, featuring a one-on-one conversation with former US Deputy Attorney General, Sally Yates.

Improving the gender balance of our leadership is a global effort. We run firm-wide training on gender diversity issues, including courses on unconscious bias. We have women's networks called "Accelerate" not only in the US, but in Asia, Amsterdam, France, Italy and London, and many of our other offices are actively involved in gender networking initiatives, including client events.

In 2016, we signed a formal statement of support for the Women's Empowerment Principles, an initiative created by UN Women in collaboration with the UK Global Compact. The seven principles promote and guide corporate action in pursuit of gender equality and encourage high-level corporate leadership on gender issues and transparent reporting on progress.

For more information about our commitment to improve gender diversity, please read our Responsible Business Reports, which can be downloaded on our reporting page.


In 2019, Clifford Chance hired Tiernan Brady as its first Global Director of Inclusion. Before taking up his broad diversity and inclusion role at Clifford Chance, he led the winning campaigns for marriage equality in Ireland and Australia. Brady now devotes his time to developing and implementing Clifford Chance's global inclusion policies and leading new campaigns within our Firm, alongside clients and in wider society.

In June 2019, Clifford Chance's US offices celebrated Gay Pride Month for a 12th consecutive year by showcasing the work of top LGBT+ artists on its office walls as well as at a client event at NASDAQ attended by more than 300 people. The artists also participate in receptions that help launch the exhibits, which are open to a broad spectrum of clients, colleagues, students, allies and friends. Similar exhibits were held in a dozen Clifford Chance offices across the world.

Through its Arcus Allies program, the Firm supports and fosters an inclusive environment for LGBT+ colleagues. Allies advocate for equal rights and fair treatment of LGBT+ individuals, and take action to challenge prejudice against the LGBT+ community. Clifford Chance also works on a pro bono basis to help further the cause of equality globally. In 2019, the Firm won a legal victory in Poland on behalf of LGBT group, bringing a motion to a Polish court which ordered the conservative newspaper Gazeta Polska to halt the distribution of "LGBT-free zone" stickers. Advocat Michal Wawrykiewicz also worked on this matter.

In 2018, Clifford Chance became a signatory of the UN's new Standards of Conduct for Business for Tackling Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Intersex people. Also, Clifford Chance was one of just four law firms in the US to sign the initial Business Statement for Transgender Equality on November 1, 2018 following a report that the Trump administration was considering limiting the definition of gender to birth anatomy. (We were joined by law firms Hogan Lovells, Ropes & Gray and Sheppard Mullin, as well many of our clients and other large companies who stood up strongly for Transgender equality. "This isn’t just a question of ethics, it is about our ongoing commitment to be a responsible and responsive business," said Clifford Chance's global managing partner, Matthew Layton. "Excluding anyone from any group holds everyone back, and every moment that someone spends worrying about what their colleagues or clients might think of who they are is a moment wasted.”

The work we have been doing at a global level was also recognized when we were ranked among the Top 5 "UK Best Employers" for LGBT+ colleagues in the 2017 Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. Additionally, Matthew Layton was featured on the 2016 OUTstanding Leading Ally Executives List, presented by the Financial Times. The list recognizes leading individuals in business who have made a significant contribution to LGBT+ inclusion.



The recruitment and career development of veterans is a priority for our Firm in the US. Our affinity group, "CliffVets," focuses on veteran hiring (both at the Firm and mentoring veteran law students on the legal market generally), retention and community issues. CliffVets members also routinely mentor student-veterans on their transition into becoming practicing lawyers.

We were the sole named sponsor of the Georgetown University Law Center's Military Law Society Symposium, which included a panel presentation and networking reception with attorneys from our New York and Washington, DC offices. We actively support and participate in career panel discussions at many of our target law schools to provide guidance to veterans as they navigate law school and the law firm job market. CliffVets also provides pro bono support to Veterans working with the non-profit organization Services for the Underserved.



We believe that building a supportive, safe and empowering culture is critical to our success. We also believe that happy employees provide better service to clients.
As a law firm, we offer legal services, but we never forget that our product is people. We understand that both lawyers and the professionals that support them -- much like our clients -- have a choice in where they go. Increasingly, culture is a deciding factor when making employment choices. We are proud of the culture we have built and how our people feel about working at Clifford Chance. To wit:
In independent surveys of associates at more than 100 of the largest law firms in the United States, Clifford Chance either led or was ranked near the top of multiple categories in the US legal industry.

  • No. 1: Diversity, Chambers US Associate Survey (2019)
  • No. 1: Associate Satisfaction, Chambers US Associate Survey (2019)
  • No. 1: Summer Associate Program, Chambers US Survey (2019)
  • No. 2: Lifestyle and Benefits, Chambers US Associate Survey (2019)
  • No. 3: Career Opportunities, Chambers US Associate Survey (2019)
  • No. 3: Top 10 Law Firms to Work For, Vault US Survey (2019)

To highlight how much we value our associates, we published (once again in partnership with The Legal 500) a second bespoke book in April 2019. Titled, Their Voices: Insights From Today's Rising Lawyers,.

Inclusion and Social Mobility at Clifford Chance

We believe the best teams are diverse and inclusive, and that people flourish in an environment where they are supported in their professional and personal development. Although we have more work to do, we are pleased with the progress we've made to date in building just such an environment.

As one of the world's leading law firms, we recruit the best talent from everywhere, including those local markets where we have offices: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the United States. Our view is that you cannot be a successful international firm without fully embracing and supporting diversity.

We also believe it is essential to our commercial strategy that we foster an inclusive culture. Our clients are made up of a diverse range of businesses with diverse workforces, and they expect no less from their law firms. We get that.

Transparency is a core value at Clifford Chance. As proof points, we report annually on the inclusion and diversity commitments we have made, including both our progress in improving the gender balance of our partnership (so we hit the 30 percent mentioned above) and our undertaking to improve ethnic diversity.

We promote social mobility through initiatives that aim to attract and support employees from less-advantaged backgrounds. In the US, for example, Clifford Chance was the first law firm to name a scholar within the groundbreaking An-Bryce Scholarship Program, which helps NYU Law School make an elite legal education available to outstanding J.D. students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The Program provides full-tuition scholarships plus programming and mentoring aimed at assuring that the scholars will feel at home at the highest levels of the legal profession. Clifford Chance provides a full-tuition scholarship annually.

When law school students from all backgrounds join us for summer jobs, each one has the opportunity to experience the joys of diversity firsthand by working for several weeks at one of more than 30 Clifford Chance offices around the world.

To find out more about our progress on inclusion and diversity, please visit our reporting page.


Diversity Committee: Zarrar Sehgal, Diversity Committee Leader


Zarrar Sehgal, Clifford Chance US
Diversity Committee Leader, New York

Mr. Sehgal, a partner of Clifford Chance, leads the Firm's Diversity Committee in the US. He also heads up Clifford Chance's Americas Banking & Finance practice and global Transport and Logistics sector.

Highly active in community work, Mr. Sehgal is President of The Citizens Foundation-USA (TCF-USA), a US-based non-profit that supports the education of underprivileged children. It has an active network of more than 30 chapters in cities across the United States.

TCF-USA supports the programs of The Citizens Foundation (TCF) in Pakistan, one of the leading organizations in the field of education. TCF was started in 1995 by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to bring about social change through education. In 22 years, it has built and operates 1,441 purpose-built schools providing quality education to 204,000 children with an all-female faculty of 12,000 teachers.

TCF-USA donors have built and support over 200 of these elementary & secondary schools with an enrollment of 65,000+ boys and girls.

In 2009, Mr. Sehgal was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, which meets annually in Davos, Switzerland.


Q&A: with Zarrar Sehgal, Diversity Committee Leader

What is the ethos behind the firm’s approach to diversity?

Clifford Chance commits to the highest standards of what we call "Responsible Business", and we are privileged to drive positive social change from a position of industry leadership across the globe. From the way we hire and develop people to the work we do and the partners we work with – these standards are embedded within our culture of teamwork and putting clients first. We are very proud of the fact that Clifford Chance is one of the most diverse firms in the world.

This isn't just a question of ethics and culture; diversity is also a business imperative. We act for the world’s leading businesses on their most important and challenging matters, which tend to be complex, multifaceted and, very often, international. Delivering the best legal and business solutions relies on our ability to assemble dynamic and cohesive teams on the basis of identifying the best person for each role.

What has a more diverse and inclusive workplace brought to your firm, and also to your clients?

For one thing, it creates a positive and measurable alignment with our clients. They have made it clear that they want diverse firms and teams, and they are "walking the walk" in their own internal staffing. With each significant industry initiative, such as the American Bar Association's Resolution 113, the terms of engagement on diversity are driving accountability. We applaud that.

The fact that we are a global firm serving a multinational client base speaks for itself in terms of the need for diversity, but we also benefit, as a practical matter, within our firm. We know that the best teams thrive on innovation, the interplay of different perspectives and a richness of views from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures.

More broadly, we are seeking to build a workplace that recognizes talent and accomplishment. When we create an environment in which everyone feels comfortable and confident, we can develop our people to their fullest potential and thrive as a more client-focused business.

How do you encourage a more diverse and inclusive workplace?

The real impetus behind our people strategy is the fact that our colleagues are highly engaged and committed to doing our best work. We believe that people excel when they are supported in expanding their skills and experience as well as in developing their resilience, and that same impulse is constantly driving us to innovate.

Role models and mentors are essential, and a diversity of role models and mentors is even better. The benefits are clear: By broadening our talent pool, people can more clearly envision themselves succeeding and developing, especially when they can see different people taking different paths.

Clifford Chance recently collaborated with The Legal 500's GC Magazine in publishing a book entitled Advice to My Younger Self: Reflections of Successful Women Lawyers. It features stories from our women lawyers and alumnae and explores the process of defining and achieving professional success on your own terms. The primary messages apply to anyone embarking on a challenging career – be courageous, push boundaries, be true to yourself, seek mentors, focus on the business of your practice and, of course, do the work. It’s compelling to see those themes weaving themselves naturally through the course of 20 separate interviews.

What is needed to help bring more diverse candidates into the legal profession?

More diverse candidates. I think all firms would like to have a larger pool to draw from. But commitment and action are also needed. The former requires buy-in and constant nurturing from the top down. Diversity must be a core value and permeate all aspects of a firm's culture.

Concrete action is essential. Among our more recent initiatives, Clifford Chance is proud to be an early adopter of the United Nations' (UN) Standards of Conduct for Business to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people in the workplace and beyond. In the United States, we have also signed on to be a pilot firm in a new US legal industry initiative called the Mansfield Rule, which sets percentage-based goals to ensure that diverse candidates are considered for promotions, senior level hiring and significant leadership roles in the firm.

What are your policies for recruitment, and what are the major challenges?

As a leading law firm, we recruit the best talent from around the world. It bears repeating that diversity is as essential to our commercial strategy as it is to the culture of our firm.

Taking a look at some challenges, given the structure and legacy composition of law firms – particularly of large partnerships – it’s a long-haul proposition to equalize the diversity balance. Mathematically, there are a limited number of partners we can make up annually against an existing pool of legacy candidates. We have more than 550 partners globally.

We also have attrition issues, for instance when we lose people partway through the pipeline, usually as mid-level associates, because they either seek other roles or (more often) accept an offer from one of our client organizations. We also look at unconscious bias, such as in connection with assigning challenging work so people can stretch and develop the skills needed to become a partner.

Retention of diverse staff is a critical issue – what are the programs your firm has in place that you feel will help retain your staff?

The best thing a firm can do to retain good people is to provide an interesting, challenging, supportive and happy work environment. In this context, I refer to diversity as an important component of our broader culture, which is a calling card for Clifford Chance and plays a big role in helping us attract and retain talent across the board.

Specific to diversity, we run numerous programs and initiatives aimed at promoting inclusion and diversity and wellbeing at the firm, and have several growing diversity networks. To ensure that all of our people have opportunities for development, we established the Clifford Chance Academy, which provides about 1,500 courses to our lawyers and business services professionals.

As just a few examples, in September 2015, the firm launched our global Arcus Allies program for employees who do not necessarily identify as LGBT++ but who wish to act as advocates for equal rights and fair treatment of LGBT++ colleagues. Arcus runs many events throughout the year, including a series of Pride art exhibitions, which showcase LGBT++ and supporter artists. This year the events will be held in 11 offices, including Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, Perth, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Washington, DC.

We have Women's networks in the Americas, Asia, Amsterdam, France, Italy and London. In the US, our Black and Latino Subcommittee and Asian and Pacific Islanders Subcommittee have been well established for more than a decade, and we've recently created our Veterans group. In London, our London Women's Network -- which focused on 1) ensuring all colleagues have equal opportunities to succeed and 20 achieving gender parity -- took bold action to accelerate the pace of change. Recognizing the need to be more inclusive and to encourage participation by everyone in pursuit of their goals, they devised a new strategy and launched a new group with a dynamic and non-gender specific name: Accelerate>>>. This group replaced the London Women's Network in late 2018 with the goal of furthering the excellent work done by that group. There are five pillars in Accelerate>>>: institutional change, knowledge, connections, visibility and action by all.

Reporting and Transparency

Clifford Chance submits a "Communication on Progress" report to the UN Global Compact on a yearly basis.

In 2009, we signed the United Nations Global Compact as a further demonstration of our commitment to help advance sustainable business models and markets with a view to creating a more sustainable and inclusive global economy. We actively support the UN Global Compact's 10 principles focusing on the core areas of human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption.

Our reporting is supported by an index of Global Reporting Initiative indicators, which we compile based on the principle of materiality. We also report on key diversity, employee development and community statistics.

We are proud to be one of the most transparent law firms in the world. To access any of our reports in PDF formats, please click on the following links:

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