A&O teaches female associates to communicate

The programme, aimed at senior associates, will specifically target women.

A&O associate director of HR Sasha Hardman said: “It’s really important for our success as a business that we look at ways to retain and develop talented women. This means ­looking at some of the softer skills – not just for women but for all associates – that will help prepare them for leadership roles.”

The firm is running a series of workshops on skills such as building client ­relationships and, said Hardman, “having a strong presence and being able to communicate powerfully”.

She added: ”[These areas] are all really ­important as people move towards senior positions within the firm and are areas we want to focus on.”

Forty per cent of the 20 lawyers who became partners at A&O this year were women. In the previous year 18 per cent of new partners were women.

Fifteen per cent of A&O partners are female, lower than Slaughter and May’s 19 per cent, roughly equal to Clifford Chance’s and Linklaters’ figures, but higher than Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s 12 per cent.