The Lawyer’s new China Elite report contains the most detailed research available on the PRC legal market and contains unparalleled insight into the country's leading law firms. They vary in size, practice focus and geographic coverage, but they all share one common quality – ambition... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has unveiled plans to boost gender diversity across the firm by targeting a 30 per cent female partnership, setting an interim goal of 25 per cent within the next three years.
The target was put forward by the firm’s management committee with the aim of widening the ‘talent pool’ from which partners at the firm are promoted. In 2012/13 19.3 per cent of the firm’s partners were women.
Joint CEO David Willis said: “These targets have tangible benefits for the whole business – as well as promoting the best talent, they will help us meet the needs of our clients and bring diverse perspectives to our business and the business of clients.”
HSF became the first top-10 UK firm to appoint a female CEO after it named global head of disputes Sonya Leydecker as its next co-chief last December (19 December 2013).
The firm is the second this month to announce it is aiming to increase gender diversity. Less than two weeks ago Pinsent Masons said it was targeting a 25 per female partnership by 2018, with the aim of hitting 30 per cent in the future (3 March 2014).
Baker & McKenzie launched a similar plan to double female partner numbers last year (26 April 2013), aiming to double its female partner figure from 15 per cent to 30 per cent.
Getting women into partnerships remains a stubborn problem for law firms, which have struggled to push the number above 20 per cent. In 2013, 17.6 per cent of partners in the UK top 20 were women, dropping to just 13 per cent of equity partners (2 September 2013).
The issue is high on the agenda for firms. Last year The Lawyer predicted that women would still represent less than 20 per cent of partners in the UK top 20 law firms by 2018 and that there would be no female global managing partners or CEOs.
Despite that, firms seem to see the way ahead as target-led, with quotas shunned by many. One Linklaters partner did speak out for quotas last year. Nicola Rabson described the method of positively discriminating to push up the number of women in top roles as “the only way things will change” (1 April 2013).