Norton Rose Fulbright ‘software error’ causes staff pronouns to change in emails

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By Aishah Hussain on

‘He/him’ to ‘she/her’ and vice versa

Norton Rose Fulbright has experienced a “software error” which caused staff pronouns to change from ‘he/him’ to ‘she/her’ and vice versa in emails.

The global firm rolled out a new signature block for its staff earlier this month in Australia where they could specify the pronouns they wish to be referred by, including ‘he/him’, ‘she/her’ and ‘they/them’.

But a bug with the IT system caused staff pronouns to change at random, resulting in 35 instances of ‘he/hims’ becoming ‘she/hers’ and ‘she/hers’ becoming ‘he/hims’, the website RollOnFriday reports.

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.”

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Many big law firms encourage all lawyers and staff (i.e. not just their transgender, genderqueer and non-binary employees) to use gender pronouns in their email signatures as means to promote a more inclusive work culture.

Some firms like Clifford Chance and Freshfields have even dropped gendered language such as ‘Dear Sirs’ from legal correspondence.

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