Number of female partners in top law firms decreases.
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Percentage of women moving up to senior roles drops 25% in top firms

Posted by: Laurence Simons 01/08/16

There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about how to create an equal gender balance in the legal profession in the UK, and while a great deal is being done to encourage diversity at NQ level, there has been little improvement at the top of the ladder. In fact, the percentage of women made up in London’s top 10 firms fell by 25% during the 2016 promotion round. Following our recent report on how many women feel their career progress has been hampered by their gender, this is again reason for a call to focus on Women in Law and reward equal achievement.

While the number of partners receiving promotions across London’s 30 top firms has held steady, the percentage of women being made up into the top roles dropped off significantly. From the 28 firms which have already announced their partner promotions for this round a total of 458 new partners have been made up. Of those only 32% (147) are female, compared to last year’s figure which reached 38% (173) once all 30 firms announced.

The fall can largely be attributed to the largest 10 firms, where only 77 female lawyers were made up in 2016, down 26% compared to last year’s figure of 104. The number of female promotions fell in eight out of ten of the top firms, including Norton Rose Fulbright, which only made up 12 women, in compared to last year’s 19 and CMS which made up 12 compared to 18 last year.

Many professionals have made the argument that the number of females being made up is heavily reliant on the pipeline of female talent, and without sufficient mentoring and training schemes female talent will get stuck on the career rungs just below the top of the ladder and law firms will consistently fail to reach their diversity targets.

Tagged In: Women in Law
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