Winners of the Chambers D&I Awards: Europe 2019

2 Oct 2019

We are delighted to announce the winners of the Chambers inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Awards in Europe 2019.

All of our nominees have demonstrated an exceptional calibre of commitment, dedication and impact in furthering the advancement of D& I in the legal profession. The diversity awards covered the full spectrum of diversity and inclusion and we were excited to see so many inspiring diverse lawyers and allies during the ceremony in Amsterdam.

Congratulations to all of our nominees and to the very deserving winners. You can view the photo gallery here.

For more information about the awards please click here

Chambers D&I Awards: Europe – Winners 2019

Outstanding Company for D&I (In-House) 

ABN AMRO 

ABN AMRO is deeply committed to advancing inclusion in the workplace in particular, through two unique programmes focusing on employees with disabilities and supporting refugees in the workplace. 

Then ABN AMRO B-Able desk which creates jobs for people with disabilities and the ABN AMRO Reboot Programme offers refugees jobs and internships at the bank. ABN AMRO regards inclusion not only as a societal obligation but also as a prerequisite for continued relevance as a bank. The bank has also set quantifiable goals to recruit and promote more diverse talent. The results are evaluated and published externally each quarter.  

Anglo American – Highly Commended 

Future Leader – LGBT+ (Private Practice) 

Boudewijn Smit, Associate, NautaDutilh 

As a trainee, Boudewijn was instrumental in founding NautaDutilh GLOBE, which became the first internal LGBT+ employee resource group in a law firm in the Netherlands. As an associate, he helped to found Forward, the first and only Legal LGBT+ network in the Netherlands, and De Roze Zuidas, a cooperation between ABN AMRO, Accenture, APG, Deloitte, McKinsey & Company, NautaDutilh, PwC, and Crowne Plaza, which provides a place for professionals to meet and share their experiences of being queer in traditional fields. 

He is also the author of the ‘LGBT+ Best Practices for Inclusivity’ handbook in an effort to bring change within the entire legal profession. Boudewijn wrote a LGBTQ+ Best Practices for Inclusivity handbook for all law firms and other professional services firms in the Netherlands, which was published through the Forward foundation. This handbook is a comprehensible guide, which gives advice on how to promote diversity and foster inclusivity within a firm.

Rebecca Townsend, Associate, A&L Goodbody – Highly commended 

Future Leader – Minority Lawyers (Private Practice) 

Rachel Welch-Phillips, Associate, Bird & Bird 

Rachel launched Embrace, Bird & Bird’s inaugural BAME network, in November 2017. Within two months, a core network committee was established, composed of eight members spanning eight different practice areas and varying levels of seniority from across the firm.  

The firm now has its first established BAME network and key stakeholders, including the Head of the London office and the CEO of the global firm, are now more attune to the challenges that the BAME community faces and the need for racial diversity at all levels, and the firm is looking to extend its BAME and wider D&I commitment globally. 

Natalie Carter, Associate, Greenberg Traurig LLP – Highly commended 

Future Leader – Gender Diversity (Private Practice) 

Dr. Katharina Schlücke, Senior Associate, Schnittker Möllmann Partners 

As a member of The Women of IFA Network (WIN) Katharina was essential in the organization of the 1st WIN Tax Conference. Besides the IFA annual meeting Germany, this event was globally one of the biggest events the IFA ever organized and the biggest event the WIN ever hosted.

Katharina was a leader of the organizing committee and dedicates significant time and effort to WIN because both share a key conviction: only the consistent, ongoing support of woman in professional tax can lead to a level playing field between genders and ultimately the best results for clients in the industry.  

Maria Kazakova, Senior Associate, Hogan Lovells LLP (Russia) – Highly commended 

Future Leader – Minority Lawyers (In-House) 

Rubya Ramjahn, Legal Director, eBay 

Rubya founded the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Group at eBay UK in 2017 aiming to raise awareness and understanding of cultures of different ethnicities and hence a culture of inclusion of colleagues with different background within the company. It was the first Community of Inclusion established locally outside of the US. She also sits in the Diversity & Inclusion Committee of the eBay Global Legal Team and leads the Workplace Committee globally. 

When BAME was set up at eBay, there was only Rubya and 1 other member in the BAME group. With Rubya’s leadership, not only has the membership of the group grown to 35% of the staff, it has encouraged a large number of BAME colleagues to come forward volunteering their time and ideas to BAME and secured support from the UK Leadership Team on recruiting and retention initiatives focusing on BAME communities. 

Anita Shaw, European Patent Attorney, IBM – Highly Commended 

Future Leader – Gender Diversity (In-House) 

Sabien Khan, Associate General Counsel, Wellcome Trust 

Sabien Khan, cofounded the BAME Network with colleagues at Wellcome Trust. She ensures that the intersectional experience features in employee support at Wellcome. She recently launched an informal mentoring circle for ethnic minority women at the organisation and has taken part in reverse diverse mentoring of members of the Executive Leadership Team at Wellcome. Outside of Wellcome, Sabien mentors a number of young people with an emphasis on social mobility and accessing the professions.

Cecilia Ferreira, Legal Principal, Anglo American PLC – Highly commended

Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year (Private Practice) 

Wojciech Kozłowski, Partner, Dentons  

In May 2016, Wojciech Kozłowski created the Strategic Litigation Program as a vehicle for Dentons lawyers to provide pro bono legal assistance in matters with strategic and exceptionally important meaning for the public interest. These include high profile litigations which seek to protect human rights, strengthen civil society and uphold principles of democracy.  

He has represented clients in a number of pro bono cases to counter Nazi propaganda and Holocaust denial; protect the freedom of expression of individuals critical of the government; counter xenophobia and religious hatred; and protect the rights of disadvantaged groups, such as people with disabilities, migrants and ethnic minorities.

Wojciech has also been successfully involved in a number of matters in the fundamental area of freedom of speech.  

Eamonn Conlon, Partner, A&L Goodbody – Highly commended 

Pro Bono Program of the Year (Private Practice) 

De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek 

De Brauw’s pro bono work cover various areas, such as human rights, sustainability, the environment, and cultural and legal development.

To show the firm’s true commitment to pro bono work, hours devoted to pro bono matters are considered billable, and participation in pro bono matters is part of the performance review process for all trainees, associates and even partners.

Some of their key pro bono matters include working with the NGO Ocean Cleanup, providing access to healthcare for transgender people in Georgia and representing the mothers of the Srebrenica massacre victims in a case against the Dutch government. 

Currently, 56% of trainees, 42% of associates and 58% of partners are involved in the firm’s pro bono work. 

A&L Goodbody – Highly commended 

Gender Diversity Lawyer of the Year – Europe-wide (Private Practice) 

Caroline Clemetson, Partner, Schellenberg Wittmer 

Caroline is extensively involved in promoting gender diversity within the firm, Schellenberg Wittmer. She has introduced diversity initiatives and measured targets that strongly commit to a more gender diverse workforce, especially for more female representation within leadership and strategic positions.

She is the first woman nominated to the firm’s management committee and the only woman sitting at the management committee of one of the leading Swiss law firms. A dedicated task force led by Caroline was implemented in 2016 to strategize how to reduce the gender gap, appropriately and effectively within a 5-year plan period. 

Carol Widger, Managing Partner, Dechert LLP – Highly commended 

Gender Diversity Lawyer of the Year – Central & Eastern Europe (Private Practice) 

Jolanta Nowakowska-Zimoch, Partner, Greenberg Traurig LLP 

Jolanta manages GT’s efforts as the main partner in the Top Woman in Real Estate Program, which is a mentoring and coaching platform for all women active in the field of real estate in Poland.  She has a leading role at the Warsaw Office in the Greenberg Traurig’s Women’s Initiative and helps foster the success of women attorneys, which strengthens the firm’s culture, contributes to the firm’s financial health, and better serves the firm’s clients.

She leads by example and in her Core Real Estate Team: – 70% of partners are women – 60% of attorneys are women – 60% of trainees are women. 

Outstanding Ally Award (Private Practice) 

Jules Quinn, Partner, King & Spalding International LLP 

Jules has been a prominent figure in advising on the most critical diversity issues during her career as an employment lawyer. This past year, for example, she was instructed by a leading international technology company to devise and develop a Diversity Charter for its European panel firms in the wake of the #metoo scandal. 

Jules is a member of King & Spalding’s firm-wide and London diversity committee, where she has been central to helping young lawyers flourish. She also initiated anti-harassment training seminars and drafted a new anti-harassment policy for the office. She has also facilitated the firm’s Pride network, which hosted the first ever Pride event for the entirety of the London office. 

Dirk Van Gerven, Managing Partner, NautaDutilh – Highly commended 

Jeroen Ouwehand, Senior Partner, Clifford Chance – Highly commended 

LGBT+ Lawyer of the Year (Private Practice)

Igor Ostrowski, Partner, Dentons

Igor is a visible activist, devoting himself to pro bono legal support to a number of LGBT+ organizations and defending the human rights of the LGBT+ community. Notable matters include working as one of the funders and co-organizers of a legal action against Gazeta Polska, which recently distributed “LGBT+-free Zone” stickers, causing an international stir about treatment of the LGBT community in Poland.

He also worked with Nowoczesna, the Polish Liberal Party, on the creation of the first complex draft bill on marriage equality. Under the current conservative government, it did not pass, but the bill is ready and awaiting better times.

He acted as a plaintiff in the case against Kaja Godek, a right-wing politician, who infringed the personal rights of the LGBT+ community (including the openly gay Irish Prime Minister) by referring to homosexuality as a “perversion” on nationwide television. If this case is successful, it will set a precedent, which will discourage other politicians from using hate speech, as there will be potential financial consequences for their actions. 

Borja Sainz de Aja Tirapu, Partner, Uría Menéndez – Highly commended

Lifetime Achievement Award (Private Practice)

David Isaac, Partner, Pinsent Masons

David Isaac chairs the firm’s global D&I group and is the leading senior sponsor for LGBT+ and diversity initiatives within the firm and the legal sector. He is also the Chair of the UK’s equality and human rights body – the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the former Chair of Stonewall – a UK LGBT+ charity driving LGBT+ change around the world.

He is also a former trustee of the Human Dignity Trust which supports the legal cases for those who challenge LGBT+ prejudice in Commonwealth countries.  

David has led by example in his work inside and outside the firm. As Stonewall Chair he was directly involved in delivering legislative change in the UK and he continues this work as Chair of the EHRC. He is completely committed to driving change in the workplace – and in the legal profession.

Minority Lawyer of the Year (Private Practice)

Paul McFarlane, Legal Director, Capsticks 

Paul has over 20 years experience advising, mainly employers in the public sector, on all aspects of employment and discrimination law. Since 2019, he has been a Board Director with Black Solicitors Network (BSN). BSN is the primary voice of black solicitors in England and Wales; committed to achieving equality of access, retention and promotion of black solicitors. 

Paul is also chair of the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA), Legislative & Policy Committee. ELA is an apolitical organisation representing the views and interests of over 6,000 specialist, qualified employment lawyers in the UK. Through this role, Paul has written numerous publications and spoken on key themes such as race equality in the UK, implications of the McGregor-Smith review and ethnicity pay reporting. 

Leena Savjani, Partner, Irwin Mitchell – Highly Commended

Minority Lawyer of the Year (In-House)

Nnenna Ezeike, Senior Employment Counsel, Cantor Fitzgerald

Nnenna is a senior employment lawyer committed to improving diversity and social mobility in the legal profession. She has founded in-house work experience initiatives in partnership with Aspiring Solicitors since 2014, including the BGC Partners & Cantor Fitzgerald Experience Law Initiative offering paid legal work experience placements to qualifying candidates from underrepresented backgrounds.

Nnenna sits on the Advisory Board of Aspiring Solicitors, implementing action plans towards the elimination of the barriers preventing many excellent students from entering and staying in the legal profession. She also supports aspiring lawyers by providing one-to-one mentoring and coaching.

Habibunnisha Patel, General Counsel, Save the Children – Highly commended

LGBT+ Lawyer of the Year (In-House)

Tuvia Borok, Goldman Sachs

Tuvia is the founder and driving force behind the Goldman Sachs Legal Insight Programme which ran, for the first time in 2019. The 4-week programme was a collaboration between top firms in various sectors, working together to offer cross-sector job shadowing and skills building to broaden access to legal careers in the City of London for LGBT+ talent.

He is also the co-founder and CEO of The P3 Network, the only “non-traditional families” charity in the UK (and US). P3 supports 80+ corporate and government agencies in the UK, and 2500+ member families.

Shane Riordan, Senior Legal Counsel, ESB – Highly commended

Gender Diversity Lawyers of the Year (In-House)

Isabelle Deschamps, General Counsel, AkzoNobel

Isabelle is a signatory to the European general counsel statement urging law firms to improve on D&I. She uses this pledge to help drive tangible results from legal and compliance services providers around the world.

She advocates for them to take clear steps toward gender equality by pushing for changes such as the creation of diverse project teams by making sure part-time workers are accommodated or the setting of clear and measurable targets for the number of billing female fee earners. She actively challenges service providers she is working with on their D&I policies and ambitions and questions the programs they have enrolled in. 

Within AkzoNobel, Isabelle has launched a worldwide D&I program for 34,500 employees. Areas of focus include fostering an inclusive culture, facilitating a D&I network and strengthening AkzoNobel’s our leadership diversity. This is now coupled with an ambition to reach 25% of women in leadership at AkzoNobel. 

Lifetime Achievement Award (Private Practice)

Fulvia Astolfi, Partner, Hogan Lovells LLP

With over 25 years’ experience, Fulvia Astolfi is one of the proud founders of the Italian Hogan Lovells offices, which she opened in 2000. She was managing partner for over 16 years, one of the first women in this position in Italy. Fulvia led the Global Tax Practice at Hogan Lovells from 2005 to 2014 and leads the Italian Tax practice to this day.  

As managing partner, Fulvia worked for gender diversity in the Italian Hogan Lovells offices from the beginning. As a result, Hogan Lovells has 25% of female partners amongst international firms in Italy.

She has been an active member and leader in several women’s business networks for many years, such as PWN Professional Women’s Network, BPW Business and Professional Women and EWMD European Women’s Management network.  

Outstanding Diversity & Inclusion Firm (Private Practice)

Dechert LLP

Dechert’s London Global Women’s Initiative (GWI) launched an ambitious program in 2018-2019 aiming to make a real impact in moving the needle on gender diversity in its London office. The GWI was established in order to empower women to succeed by fostering an environment that provides opportunities for their development, advancement and leadership within the firm.

The London GWI has a committee with lawyers of all levels, as well as business services professionals from the HR, marketing and communications teams. The London GWI Committee has devised a specific training program for females at Dechert providing monthly training sessions.

External consultants provide training on issues that women often face such as (i) overcoming perfectionism to accelerate their careers; (ii) understanding barriers to success; and (iii) how to take smart risks. 

In the firm’s London office, 17% of partners are female, 10% are from ethnic minority background and 4% identify as LGBT+. 

Uría Menéndez – Highly commended 

For more information about the Chambers D&I Awards: Europe 2019 and to view the shortlists, please click here.