You may have missed it between Brexit drama and more Covid-19 news, but this week Clifford Chance announced it had ditched traditional gendered language like “Dears Sir” in its communications.
The move aligns it with a growing trend in the legal sector to make language less gendered.
The magic circle law firm is making efforts to develop a more inclusive culture within the firm by taking a number of steps to eliminate gendered language in its legal templates in several international jurisdictions.
Other law firms like Quinn Emanuel and Freshfields have already taken initial steps to remove traditional language like “Dear Sirs,” but Clifford Chance went one step further and removed all gendered salutations from its global English language letter template earlier this year.
Clifford Chance also hopes to create gender-neutral documents by encouraging each practice area and office to remove any gendered terms of gender specific pronouns from their templates, for example ‘chairman’.
“We are continuously collaborating with our clients to see how we can better advance our commitment to inclusion,” said Clifford Chance global director of inclusion Tiernan Brady.
“The words and language we use matter greatly. They send a signal of our values and can have both a positive and negative impact on others and on our culture. Removing gendered language from our communications is a subtle but impactful way of demonstrating what we stand for, and I’m delighted to see these steps taken in our firm.”
By removing gendered language from legal documentation, Clifford Chance said it is helping to promote gender equality, challenge unconscious assumptions about gender roles, and help to recognise that not everyone identifies as male or female and some people are non-gendered.