Clifford Chance is to track its use of female barristers in a bid to increase the diversity of those it instructs.

Matthew Newick, global head of litigation and dispute resolution at the Magic Circle firm, told Counsel that he also wants to achieve a default position where there must be a ‘very good reason’ for there to be no women on the list of counsel suggested to clients, adding: ‘I can’t imagine any time when there would be a list without a woman.’

He said that the firm already kept data on who it instructed, but is in the process of ‘formalising’ the tracking of that information in order to ensure it instructs a more diverse range of barristers.

He said he was against setting a target for the percentage of female instructions, but that he wanted to see an ‘upward trajectory’. Having looked at the number of women already instructed, Newick said he was ‘surprised and pleased’ to see it was already high and at varying levels of seniority.

Newick said: ‘It reinforced the fact that if we look outside the concentrated bastions of senior male talent at the top end of the Bar, it’s amazing what talent is out there.’

‘We want to find the hidden gems,’ he said, laying down a challenge for chambers to ‘show us your wider talent – make sure we can see it and make it easy for us to find’.