Tuesday 27 July 2021 10:24 am

Norton Rose Fulbright technical glitch causes staff gender pronouns mix up

A software error resulted in a gender pronoun mixup in emails for Norton Rose Fulbright staff.

The global law firm allowed its staff in Australia earlier this month to specify what pronounce they wished to be referred to by including “he/him”, “she/her” and “they/them”.

But a technical problem glitch meant those staff pronouns changed randomly.

In an email to all Australian staff last Friday, the firm’s head of service delivery for the country, Dan Halford, explained that due to a software error “the pronouns displayed in your email signature may have changed to an incorrect identity. She/Her may have become He/Him, etc”.

There were at least 35 instances of “he/hims” being replaced with “she/hers” and vice versa, according to a report in RollOnFriday.

A spokesperson for Norton Rose Fulbright said the “regrettable software error” was random, and that it was “immediately addressed once detected and the issue was fully resolved within 30 minutes”.

They added: “We’re proud of initiatives such as these to support our people and have had overwhelmingly good feedback about them.”

Other large law firms have also taken steps to address gendered language in the industry. In December Clifford Chance announced that it would eliminate gendered language in its legal drafting internationally, including removing “Dear Sirs” from letters and notices.