Accessibility Links

Female partnerships increase in magic circle

Posted by: Laurence Simons 25/04/14

The number of women making partner within the magic circle of law firms has increased by 30 per cent this year, an impressive boost from the 14 per cent recorded over the course of 2013.

Although the legal sector has suffered from poor gender diversity in the past, with a lack of flexible working options and in-built systemic bias often cited as the main issues, it appears that the recent spate of campaigns is having an impact.

According to analysis from the Law Gazette, 80 promotions to partner have taken place so far in 2014, with 24 of those positions going to women.

Clifford Chance has performed particularly well on this metric - seven of its 21 promotions have been secured by female candidates this year. On an international basis, 17 per cent of the firm’s partners are women.

Linklaters has the best record on gender diversity among the magic circle, with 43 per cent of its 21 promotions offered to women. This is a vast improvement from last year, when all but three of its 24 new partners were male.

Matthew Layton, Clifford Chance managing partner elect, suggested that the essential components of becoming a partner at the firm are a grasp of the complex international market and an ability to understand the nuances of the legal sector in different countries.

Fortunately, these competencies are not solely the preserve of men, at least now that they’ve left the key to the map cabinet unlocked and started letting women go to university.

This year’s partners “can also already claim impressive reputations in their areas of expertise and extremely strong client relationships,” added Mr Layton.

He congratulated the new cohort of promotions and expressed his optimism for their career with the company.