Top Law Firm’s ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ Dumped In Favour of Gender Neutral Greetings

Dear Sir

Law firms are moving into gender-neutral country with their greetings

Global Law Firm Withers had dropped the formerly omnipresence ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ salutation in emails in a move that appears to be gaining ground as more firms adopt, or look at adopting, gender-neutral greetings in their correspondence.

Gender neutral greetings and documentation in law firms are becoming increasingly prevalent as firms try to assert an affirmative image and embrace diversity and openness to all races and genders.

Withers LLP has global offices and according to a report in The Times, has moved to a gender neutral. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is another major law firm that has also stopped using the term this week, with their greeting to be: “Dear Sir or Madam”.

The equivalent phrases in Cantonese, Mandarin and European languages have also been agreed across Freshfields’ global network, according to reports.

According to the Times, the memo reads, ‘It is usually preferable to use the name of the firm, company or partnership . . . [as] this is increasingly seen as an acceptable form of address’. 

It adds that ‘when writing to an individual, instead of Dear Sir/Madam, consider whether you could write to them by name’.

The Lawyer law news site said that Withers ‘did not want to be left behind as the profession moves towards the standard use of gender-neutral language’.

The move comes after Katharine Landells (pictured), a family law partner at the firm, said she wanted the profession to 'move on' from the tradition of using 'Dear Sirs' in letters

The gender neutral move by Withers arose as a result of a family law partner at the firm,Katharine Landells (pictured), said she wanted the profession to ‘move on’ from the tradition of using ‘Dear Sirs’ in letters.

In December 2020 Clifford Chance announced that they would adopt gender neutral language in their legal documentation, demonstrating what the firm announced was “demonstrating our affirmative actions to develop and nurture a more inclusive culture.”

Their move followed similar moves by Quinn Emanuel and Freshfields to remove such language from their correspondence and documentation and reflects a global move by law firms and others to adopt a gender neutral tone to their correspondence to reflect a more affirmative, inclusive view of their clients.

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