Addleshaws sets out goals to boost diversity

Addleshaw Goddard has become the first major firm to establish a target for the proportion of female and ethnic minority partners it wants in its ranks, together with a timeframe in which it wants to achieve this.

The national firm has pledged to have 25 per cent women and 10 per cent of partners from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background by 2014.

Currently, 20 per cent of partners are female, which is above average for City firms, while 2 per cent of partners are BME.

Monica Burch, the firm’s first female senior partner and one of just two such women in the UK top 30, argues that the firm would not meet these objectives by means of positive discrimination, but instead by continuing existing schemes. These include mentoring and part-time working for equity partners.

However, Burch added that she expects “more proactivity”.

“Practice areas need to establish key performance indicators, it’ll be the responsibility of all the partners in the firm,” she commented.

This comes after Clifford Chance announced that it wanted to double the proportion of its female partners to 30 per cent of the total partner headcount (The Lawyer, 28 September 2009). Unlike Addleshaws, however, it did not establish a timeframe in which this should take place.