Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Legal Directories

Directories and Rankings

Last month multiple industries – including law – celebrated International Women’s Month and the achievements of female GCs, private practice lawyers, and many more. In recent years, the global directories have shone a spotlight on DEI initiatives in law firms, championing the women lawyers who are impacting their clients, supporting their firms and shaping the law. With inclusivity an integral part of many firms’ cultures, the legal directories are increasingly prioritizing inclusivity, and helping to advance diversity goals in the legal profession and beyond.

Here, we take a look at what some of the principals are doing:


While Chambers has explicitly noted that it will not harm a firm’s submissions if mostly men are nominated, Chambers requests that a diverse selection of lawyers be put forward for nomination. This can offer a firm an advantage of featuring on a DEI Spotlight Table (only available in certain jurisdictions) which aims to highlight firms and individuals that are involved in impactful initiatives to advance DEI. Chambers runs DEI Awards in the following jurisdictions: USA, Latin America, Brazil, Europe (including UK solicitors), Asia Pacific and Greater China Region, and the UK Bar. Categories cover individual, firm and in-house submissions, as well as pro bono and sustainability efforts.

Chambers has been gradually improving their research process to consider DEI. To do so, Chambers collects gender diversity data on ranked lawyers and firmwide diversity data across a range of diversity markers at firm discretion for all guides in order to understand the profession’s demographic make up and ensure their rankings reflect the breadth of diversity. Chambers aims to speak to a diverse mix of lawyers and has set a target of holding 50% of our lawyer calls with women to get a broad range of perspectives.

Legal 500:

Legal 500 also encourages firms to put forward women nominees and has recently included a separate part in the initiatives section that welcomes firms to discuss their socio-cultural initiatives specifically. This information is incorporated into their evaluations and research to ensure the representation of diversity in their rankings.

Furthermore, Legal 500 often uses the data collected from their research to publish reports and blog posts on diversity within the legal sector in various jurisdictions, including insights into gender, racial and LGBTQ+ representation trends and challenges. These reports are a valuable tool to raise awareness and provide data which could help diversity initiatives.

Lastly, this year Legal 500 has launched its first-ever ESG Awards in the UK, with the ceremony taking place later this month. These Awards are aimed at championing diversity, inclusion and sustainability in the British legal sector. The scope is broad, with specific awards for LGBTQ+, ethnic, women and disability/neurodiversity representation and inclusion.


Like Legal 500, IFLR also has a specific section in its submission template for DEI asking firms to detail their achievements over the past year. While gender is not a direct factor in the rankings, this information is taken into account during research and evaluation. IFLR leverages its research findings to publish insightful articles and blog posts on ESG matters on their website, accessible to its members. This service is a valuable resource to those in the legal community as it raises awareness about diversity. 

IFLR also hosts the longstanding Women in Business Law Awards, which aims to honour outstanding women lawyers for their achievements in the legal profession and law firms that champion gender diversity. These awards are split into two jurisdictions, Americas and EMEA, and this year have adopted two new awards to recognize leading women attorneys: Thought Leader of the Year and ESG Leader of the Year.


By recognizing and celebrating the diverse talents and contributions of individuals from underrepresented groups, these platforms not only promote a more inclusive legal profession but also pave the way for broader societal change. Let us continue to support and champion law firms in their DEI initiatives, fostering a more inclusive and equitable legal profession for all.

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