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The Athena Project

The Athena Project highlights women role models and leaders in our firm, our clients and the UK government. It was launched by Daniel Winterfeldt, our Diversity & Inclusion Partner in 2013 in partnership with London photographer Leonora Saunders. You will see from this project that we have many senior women to celebrate.

While we have many amazing women leaders in our firm and among our clients, this does not always mean that they are visible to the business outside of those with whom they come into contact on a day-to-day basis in their roles. The exhibition features our own Penelope Warne, Dame Fiona Woolf DBE, and Helen Rodwell, alongside Baroness Scotland, Helen Grant and key clients including Rachel Empey, Eva Bishop, and Liz Walker, among others.

We are passionate about ensuring the promotion and advancement of women to the highest levels of the legal profession and at our own firm. The Athena Project is our way to showcase the amazing achievements of these leaders and share their inspiring stories with a wider audience at CMS and beyond.

The InterLaw Diversity Forum

CMS has a unique position among city law firms in that our Head of International Capital Markets and Diversity & Inclusion Partner, Daniel Winterfeldt, is the co-founder of the InterLaw Diversity Forum for LGBT Networks, which has grown since 2008 to over 1500 members from over 70 law firms and 40 corporates and financial institutions. The InterLaw Diversity Forum is an inter-organisational forum for the LGBT networks in law firms and all personnel (lawyers and non-lawyers) in the legal sector; recognised for its major role in encouraging firms within the city to create more inclusive workplaces. CMS and the InterLaw Diversity Forum have a close working relationship and CMS has supported and sponsored a number of projects, events and research publications in partnership with the Forum.

The Apollo Project

CMS proudly sponsors the InterLaw Diversity Forum’s Apollo Project, which aims to give organisations the practical tools to make effective cultural changes by leveraging on the examples of best practice that exist throughout the legal sector and beyond. Launched in 2014, the Apollo Project collects and showcases case-studies of innovative Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, with the resources and tools necessary for them to be replicated and adapted. In its first year, CMS was thrilled to be recognised by the Apollo Project for the Athena Project, alongside esteemed legal peers and clients. The Rt Hon Fiona Woolf CBE, CMS Partner, Alderman of the City of London and former Lord Mayor, is a patron of the Apollo Project.

Phase II of the Apollo Project was launched in partnership with the Financial Times in June 2015. Penelope Warne, Senior Partner spoke at the launch event alongside Chief Executives from many of our key clients, who have also joined us in supporting the project and sharing our case-studies of lessons learned and best practice.

Purple Reign

Purple Reign, created by Daniel Winterfeldt, Diversity & Inclusion Partner, is a photography exhibition that celebrates LGBT and straight ally role models in their professional environment, captured by celebrated photographer Thomas Knights and profiled by Lisa Power, Activist and co-Founder of Stonewall. The goal is to raise the self-awareness and career aspirations of youth, students and professionals who identify as LGBT, while supporting the Albert Kennedy Trust.

CMS is proud to be a sponsor of Purple Reign, which was launched by then Lord Mayor Fiona Woolf in June 2014. Alongside BP, Barclays and Stonewall, we were even more excited to host the official closing event of Pride in London 2015: ‘Purple Reign: Exploring the T’, which unveiled a second series of portraits, and shared the journeys, of transgender #prideheroes. By shining a light on these collective experiences we hope to encourage greater openness, understanding, and debate surrounding the issues of transgender equality.

30% Club

The 30% Club was launched in the UK in 2010 with a goal of trying to ensure that there are at least 30% of women on FTSE-100 boards by the end of 2015. The 30% Club has now expanded internationally and its approach is to garner collaborative and concerted business-led efforts which can help accelerate progress towards better gender balance at all levels of organisations. Penelope Warne, Senior Partner is a member of the 30% Club and under her lead CMS actively participates in a variety of 30% Club initiatives.

Recently, these activities have included ‘The Millennial Era: Rising Stars of Tomorrow’: an event and number of spin-off initiatives focused on the female millennial and their wants and aspirations from their careers; and participating in the Professional Services Firms Recount – a study examining progress in gender balance at senior levels since 2012.