BLM is most female friendly firm in UK top 50

Terry Renouf

According to research carried out by The Lawyer the firm had a total of 110 partners during the 2008-09. Of those, 39 were female.

Senior partner Terry Renouf said that this was partly as a result of the firm’s focus on defendant insurance work, which allows for greater flexibility in time management.

“We don’t do transactions, we don’t do M&A,” he said. “The bigger cases are very much about project management, it’s bringing together expert witnesses and barristers and there’s probably a greater degree of control over the work we do [than at some firms].”

Several of the firm’s senior managers are women, including London head of professional indemnity Charlotte Capstick, who also sits on the remuneration committee.

The availability of part-time working arrangements is often seen as critical in improving female retention and promotion rates. BLM has offered the option of part-time working to all of its partners – including its 54 equity partners – for several years.

This comes as Allen & Overy (A&O) has become the latest firm to offer part-time working arrangements to all of its partners in an attempt to improve female retention rates (21 January 2010).

Some 15 per cent of the firm’s partners were women last year, ranking it 38th in the top 50 by number of female partners.

Geoff Fuller, an A&O capital markets partner who chaired a steering committee at the firm charged with putting together a proposal on part-time working, said it was “very clear that there was overwhelming support for some form of part-time working” among the partnership.

However, not all firms with part-time working arrangements already in place scored highly. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where an estimated 1.5 per cent of the partnership works part-time, came in at 45th. Twelve per cent of all partners at the firm were women.

Among the top 50 firms by revenue Ince & Co had the smallest proportion of female partners. Nine of the firm’s 85 partners were women, the equivalent of 11 per cent, while 12 per cent of equity partner were women.

Firm Total partners Total EP Total female partners Total FEP % of partnership % of equity
Berrymans Lace Mawer 110 54 39 15 35 28
Beachcroft 135 84 44 25 33 30
Shoosmiths 109 37 35 6 32 16
Withers 107 52 33 16 31 31
Irwin Mitchell 112 55 34 11 30 20
Hill Dickinson 151 53 41 5 27 9
Charles Russell 100 45 26 7 26 16
Halliwells 154 42 38 8 25 19
McGrigors 83 47 20 12 24 26
Trowers & Hamlins 109 25 26 6 24 24
Nabarro 135 95 32 21 24 22
CMS Cameron McKenna 190 122 45 24 24 20
Mills & Reeve 87 58 20 10 23 17
Olswang 101 62 23 11 23 18
Salans 181 75 40 20 22 27
Eversheds 350 150 76 22 22 15
Denton Wilde Sapte 181 86 39 17 22 20
Addleshaw Goddard 182 111 39 18 21 16
Berwin Leighton Paisner 184 84 39 12 21 14
Field Fisher Waterhouse 124 41 26 5 21 12
Kennedys 117 40 24 5 21 13
Bird & Bird 192 72 39 15 20 21
Watson Farley & Williams 79 57 16 9 20 16
Pinsent Masons 283 116 57 10 20 9
Slaughter and May 131 125 25 23 19 18
Dundas & Wilson 79 79 15 15 19 19
Lovells 349 240 66 39 19 16
Hammonds 180 73 34 11 19 15
DLA Piper (Emea) 595 188 108 17 18 9
Ashurst 221 144 40 21 18 15
Stephenson Harwood 87 43 15 4 17 9
Wragge & Co 112 112 19 19 17 17
Norton Rose 264 171 44 26 17 15
LG 83 45 13 9 16 20
Clifford Chance 637 368 96 51 15 14
Osborne Clarke 114 56 17 9 15 16
Linklaters 513 428 76 57 15 13
Allen & Overy 490 372 72 52 15 14
Herbert Smith 238 137 34 14 14 10
Clyde & Co 150 87 21 9 14 10
Macfarlanes 75 52 10 3 13 6
SJ Berwin 170 98 22 16 13 16
Burges Salmon 70 51 9 3 13 6
Holman Fenwick Willan 114 61 14 4 12 7
Freshfields 444 417 54 51 12 12
Simmons & Simmons 232 134 28 10 12 7
Taylor Wessing 280 152 32 11 11 7
Barlow Lyde & Gilbert 88 77 10 8 11 10
Travers Smith 63 46 7 6 11 13
Ince & Co 85 50 9 6 11 12

(data refers to 2008-9 financial year)