Freshfields and Stonewall
Creating real change for LGBT+ communities
Stonewall is Europe’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT+) equality. Stonewall works with individuals and organisations to help them understand how they can make a difference for LGBT people at work, at home and in their communities.
Stonewall campaigns in the UK and internationally to eliminate homophobia and biphobia and transphobia in communities, and empower LGBT+ people and their allies to be role models where they live, work, shop, socialise or pray.
Freshfields is a founding partner of Stonewall’s Global Diversity Champions programme, a best practice forum for global organisations that are committed to LGBT equality across the world.
LGBT+ rights are important to us and Stonewall’s guidance has helped us to grow Halo, our global LGBT+ network, into one of the firm’s largest employee networks with more than 100 members across 20 of our 27 offices. Drawing again on Stonewall’s experience of allies’ programmes, in 2014 we launched our Halo Champions network for staff who do not identify as LGBT+, and who support and promote the equality of their LGBT+ colleagues. We now have more than 400 Halo Champions globally.
Stonewall has recognised the significance of the firm’s Halo and Halo Champions initiatives, and Freshfields engages with Stonewall’s Global Workplace Equality Index.
"Freshfields continue to be a valuable and important partner in Stonewall’s global work."
Global Partnership Manager at Stonewall
Freshfields was the first Magic Circle firm to enter the top 100 of the UK Workplace Equality Index in 2014 and featured as a Top Global Employer in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. Freshfields Asia Managing Partner Georgia Dawson received the 2019 Global Senior Champion Award – only a single person each year can hold this prestigious accolade.
Our recognition as a Top Global Employer by Stonewall is particularly important. As a global organisation we operate in some regions that are more challenging from the perspective of LGBT+ equality but we are committed to giving the same level of support to our LGBT+ colleagues wherever they are.
“I am delighted that we are being recognised for all the hard work and determination of my colleagues to ensure that our firm is inclusive and welcoming to all our LGBT+ employees,” says Edward Braham, Freshfields’ Senior Partner. “Inclusion in the Global Employer list is important to us all at Freshfields. We will continue to prioritise creating a supportive working environment for all who work in the firm.”
As the initiatives we undertake in relation to LGBT+ at the firm evolve, we continue to look for new ways to collaborate with Stonewall. The Halo network regularly holds a conference, bringing together members from across the firm. At its most recent conference in Brussels, Champions and HALO members from across Continental Europe gathered.
“Freshfields continue to be a valuable and important partner in Stonewall’s global work,” says Alex Rodick, Global Partnerships Manager at Stonewall. “The impact of their efforts to drive LGBT inclusion globally and their extensive pro bono work, including on our Global Workplace Briefings, cannot be underestimated. They have shown real leadership in how global organisations can embed LGBT inclusion and we look forward to supporting them to continue and expand that good work.”
Looking to the future, in addition to the work we do for our own LGBT+ staff, we believe that firms such as ours can play an important role in creating real change in the wider community.
We have used our global reach and legal expertise previously to make a submission to the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT+ Rights creating a report on recommendations that the UK government, businesses and NGOs can take to enhance LGBT+ rights worldwide, and are proud to work with a number of other organisations tackling LGBT+ rights globally on a pro bono basis. We are particularly proud of our pro bono work on Stonewall Global Workplace briefings which you can read more about here.