Thompsons, the UK's biggest personal injury and trade union law firm, has announced the appointment of five new equity partners.

These are the first equity partner appointments to have been made in several years and reflect the firm's increased confidence in the future.

The new appointments are: Joanna Stevens, branch manager Cardiff; Terry Loughrey of the Birmingham office; David Stothard who also became branch manager of Thompsons' Congress House, London head office on 1 May; Victoria Phillips, head of employment rights for London and the South East; and Richard Arthur, the firm's national head of collective and human rights.

Geoff Shears, chief executive officer said: "Thompsons has always valued diversity and so it is particularly pleasing to be able to promote two women in a profession where equity partnership is still so male dominated. This commitment has been reflected in several other appointments made since Thompsons adopted its corporate structure in 2000, including the promotion of five women to the posts of branch manager, two of whom were not equity partners."