Big law and diversity. Does it matter?

Tricia Hobson, Norton Rose Fulbright’s first female global chair says yes

People April 26, 2018

Tricia Hobson, the first female Chair of global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, knows big law must prioritize diversity at all levels and across all departments if it wants to remain relevant to clients. In fact, the future of law depends on it.

Increasingly, clients are demanding diversity within their legal teams and in the firms they hire to represent them. Norton Rose Fulbright knows this, and last year they were the first law firm in Canada to publish the results of their Canadian diversity survey.

“Our Canadian diversity and inclusion survey results from 2017 inform our strategy by helping us assess the impact of existing initiatives and identifying trends which our action plans will focus on,” says Hobson. “Publishing our data demonstrates we are prepared to hold ourselves accountable and are transparent about our progress against our diversity goals, including our aspiration to achieve 30% representation of women across our partnership by 2020 and across the Management and Partnership Committees.”

Why does diversity matter?  As a business that relies on the collective skills and abilities of a team, diversity is important. Norton Rose Fulbright wants their teams to be diverse and of varied backgrounds and life experiences. It’s this composition that they believe brings the creativity necessary to challenge the status quo. Diversity is a strength and an absolute competitive advantage. It’s an asset that benefits employees and clients.

How does big law ‘do’ diversity? By establishing measurable diversity goals and objectives and by embracing a variety of views and experience. This is how law firms can attract and retain the best talent and provide clients with relevant and valuable counsel.

Norton Rose Fulbright is committed to equal opportunities in employment and a workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment. This means that all job applicants, employees and partners receive equal treatment and access to opportunities regardless of sex, gender identity and gender expression, race, ethnic or national origins, marital status, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief.

Notes for editors:

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is a global law firm providing the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. The firm has more than 4,000 lawyers and other legal staff based in Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.

Recognized for its industry focus, Norton Rose Fulbright is strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare. Through its global risk advisory group, the firm leverages its industry experience with its knowledge of legal, regulatory, compliance and governance issues to provide clients with practical solutions to the legal and regulatory risks facing their businesses.

Norton Rose Fulbright operates in accordance with its global business principles of quality, unity and integrity, aiming to provide the highest possible standard of legal service in each of its offices and to maintain that level of quality at every point of contact.

Norton Rose Fulbright Verein, a Swiss verein, helps coordinate the activities of Norton Rose Fulbright members but does not itself provide legal services to clients. Norton Rose Fulbright has offices in more than 50 cities worldwide, including London, Houston, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Sydney and Johannesburg. For more information, see