Freshfields lawyers no longer allowed to use ‘Dear Sirs’ in emails

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By Thomas Connelly on

It’s “Dear Sir or Madam” from now on, according to the magic circle giant


Magic circle law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has barred its lawyers from using the term “Dear Sirs” in emails and legal documents.

Insisting on “Dear Sir or Madam” instead, this move is believed to be the first of its kind among the magic circle fivesome.

According to a report in The Lawyer (£) this morning, the masculine greeting was ditched by Freshfields earlier this month, after a London-based associate — who clearly had far too much time on their hands — did some digging around and discovered that a large number of law firms, banks and business opted to use “Dear Sirs”.

The report further states the magic circle firm’s US lawyers — based in Washington and New York — will, from now on, use the gender-neutral opening “Dear Ladies and Gentlemen” *insert Mambo No.5 gag here*. Similar greetings across Freshfields’ European and Asian offices have also been given the green light.

Commenting on the move (which will presumably have Charlotte Proudman punching the air), Freshfields joint managing partner Chris Pugh said:

It’s a relatively small change but it’s a significant point and you notice that when everyone immediately accepts the change needs to happen. I hope it will shed light on other things that we might inadvertently be doing that risk alienating people we communicate with – not only people at Freshfields but clients and other professionals as well.

According to the latest Legal Cheek stats, Freshfields currently has 49% UK female associates. This figure drops down to 17% at UK partner level.