The survey investigates the ethnicity and gender of employees from paralegal to partner level.

The research found that Thompsons was “unique” in collecting and monitoring in-house data on diversity and implementing measurable targets.

BSN analysis of the survey results points out that Thompsons’ “diversity director” is also an equity partner and therefore “has a strong position in the firm from which to make recommendations that are likely to be addressed at different levels (including not only Human Resources but also supervisory and executive levels).”

Joanna Stevens, Thompsons’ People and Organisation Director said: ”We take diversity very seriously at Thompsons and are delighted to have achieved second place in the survey - doing even better this year than last.

We make sure we get the best people, whatever their gender or ethnic background. And we aim, as part of our diversity strategy, to reflect the population profile where ever we work."

Nikki Sharpe, a Personal Injury Team Manager at Thompsons and BSN activist, said all levels of staff at the firm, including clerical and secretarial, were encouraged to develop.

A former filing clerk in Thompsons’ Manchester office, Ms Sharpe was assisted to qualify as a solicitor and is actively supported by Thompsons in her work for members of ethnic minorities and disadvantaged groups generally.

“I am proud to be part of a firm whose visions and values are closely aligned to my own interests not only in the work they do – providing legal advice to the trade union and labour movement and to the victims of injury, seeking to use the law to provide justice for working people. But in my view they are also pretty unique in the way staff are encouraged to develop from all levels. There are others, who like me, have progressed through the ranks to senior positions and have remained with the firm all their working lives.”

The Black Solicitors’ Network was formed in May 1995 to promote the interests of black solicitors and is recognised as a Law Society Group.