Global law firm Baker McKenzie earned three separate acknowledgements at the Chambers Diversity and Inclusion Awards: Latin America 2019, held on Thursday in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Firm earned recognition as Outstanding Firm for Furthering Diversity and Inclusion in Latin America, while Claudia Benavides received individual recognition as Gender Diversity Lawyer of the Year in Colombia and María de los Ángeles Celis was Highly Commended in the category Gender Diversity Lawyer of the Year in Venezuela. The Firm was nominated in eight categories this year for these awards.
Latin American Chair Jaime Trujillo welcomed the news, “At Baker McKenzie, we have made every effort to ensure the Firm is a welcoming and inclusive place for all those who desire to excel in the field of law. We are proud that our Firm is at the forefront of diversity and inclusion efforts in the region and across the world.”
The award for Outstanding Firm for Furthering Diversity and Inclusion recognizes efforts to ensure that diverse candidates are given equal opportunities in recruitment, retention and promotion, while Gender Diversity Lawyer of the Year highlights partners who show dedication and commitment to gender diversity programs and take an active role in organizing events and facilitating discussions that help to further the advancement of women in law.
In July, Claudia became the first woman to chair Baker McKenzie’s Global Dispute Resolution Group. Regarding her recognition as Diversity Lawyer of the Year for Colombia, Benavides stated, “It is an honor to even be considered for an award such as this one. Diversity in all its forms at the workplace brings new perspectives that enrich the exchange of ideas, fosters innovation and creativity, improves client service and advances the communities where we work." Claudia also chairs the Latin American Diversity and Inclusion Committee at Baker McKenzie.
Regarding the award given to the Firm for furthering D&I, she said, "Baker McKenzie is truly committed to furthering diversity and inclusion in Latin America through the implementation of our global initiatives and local programs. As a Firm, we are very fortunate to have tremendously capable and passionate partners, associates, and business professionals, fully committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in the region and globally. We are very proud to receive this award that recognizes the terrific job done by so many people within Baker McKenzie and encourages us all to continuing advancing the D&I agenda. I am grateful for the people around me who, through example and sharing of wisdom, made this recognition possible.”
This past year, Baker McKenzie was the first global law firm to set 40:40:20 aspirational targets aimed at ensuring Partners, senior business professionals, Firm committee leadership and candidate pools for recruitment are composed of 40% women, 40% men and 20% flexible (women, men or non-binary persons) by July 1st, 2025.Baker McKenzie recently received Regional South American Practice of the Year at Chambers Latin America Awards 2019 in Miami Beach, as well as being the most-ranked law firm in the whole region in Chambers Latin America 2020, with 88 practice areas and 170 individual lawyers receiving recognition.